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THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

AT CHAPEL HILL 




THE COLLECTION OF 
NORTH CAROLINIANA 

PRESENTED BY 

Kevin Cherry 



C287.09 


R682b 


v. 2 



UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL 



00044636037 



FOR USE ONLY IN 
THE NORTH CAROLINA COLLECTION 



Form No. A-368, Rev. 8/95 



Digitized by Ihe Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding trom 

Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions ot the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library ot North Carolina, a division of Cultural Resources. 



http://archive.org/details/rockspringcampgr02brot 







Copies of this publication are available from Terry Brotherton, Post Office Box 10, 
Denver, NC 28037. Please include $59.95 per book plus $8.95 shipping and handling. 

Copyright © 2003 by Terry Brotherton. All rights reserved. 

No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, 

electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information 

storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher, 

except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a 

review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper or broadcast. 

Cover Photo: 2002 Big Sing, Saturday, August 3 shows what is considered to be the 
largest crowd ever assembled under and around the Rock Spring Campground 

Arbor. 
Photo by Murrey Sherrill, Photographer 

Compiled and Published by Terry Brotherton 
Designed and Edited by Missy Sandal 






First Printing 2003 
Limited Edition 

Printed in the United States of America 






Dedication 

To Those That Saved Rock Spring Campground 

In Volume I, Rock Spring Campground, information was recorded con- 
cerning the movement in 1913 to abolish Rock Spring Campmeeting. Tlie matter 
was not settled until 1916. 

In 1913, trustees J. A. King, W.F. Kelly, EM. Howard, W.J. Howard, W.J. 
Wingate, Charles Gabriel and O.F. Howard undertook the challenge of pre- 
serving campmeeting. 

Joining the board of trustees between 1913 and 1916 were J. W. Brother- 
ton, S.O.D. Brotherton, W.F. Kelly, J.F. Beatty and J. A. Brotherton. Some had 
previously served as trustee, as was the case of W.F. Kelly, who apparently left 
the board after 1913 but rejoined prior to 1916. 

All men mentioned supported the continuation of Rock Spring and par- 
ticipated in the battle against the Rock Spring Charge minister, Rev. Wagg, 
three trustees and the Methodist Conference that supported abolishing Rock 
Spring Campmeeting. 

Without their dedication to Rock Spring Campmeeting, the historic insti- 
tution would not exist today. For their courage and efforts, this collection of 
information titled Volume II, Rock Spring Campground is dedicated to their 
memory. 



Foreword 



This is the second volume of Rock Spring Campground, a series of 
two books on the history of the campground. Our effort is to provide 
those interested with a chronicle of the history of the institution. 

I would like to thank all the individuals who have contributed to 
the success of the first volume, which was released in July of 2002. Less 
than three weeks after delivery, it was sold out. Requests required a sec- 
ond printing, which was 70% reserved by "Big Sunday" or August 11, 
2002. 

After release of Volume I, I received over 100 photos from friends of 
Rock Spring, many dating back to the 1930s. Since this volume is de- 
voted to the period 1970-2002, many of those contributions are not 
included. Perhaps there will be an opportunity in the future to prepare 
Volume III, devoted entirely to photos. This volume does also include a 
special section titled "Rock Spring Campground Anecdotes," nearly 100 
pages filled with campground facts, stories, tales and exploits. 

This has been one of the most rewarding projects, and I don't mean 
financially, that I have ever undertaken. 

I wish to extend special thanks to Missy Sandal for her editing and 
layout for the two publications. I believe I could have searched the world 
over and never found anyone that would have offered the pride and 
dedication to preparing a quality product that she brought to the project. 

Once again, thank you for the many kind words about Volume I, 
and hopefully Volume II will be equally enjoyable. 

Tern' Brothertoti 
''Bubo" 



A Word About Names 

Is it Proctor or Procter? 

As was the case in Volume I, we have elected to show names as they 
appear in historical documents and records. Therefore, you may see a 
name spelled one way in one document or story, and then quite an- 
other way when mentioned somewhere else. 

Editor 



1970 

Trustees Hear Financial Report 

January 14 - Meeting of trustees at Jones Fish Camp. Present: Wm. 
Lee Sigmon, Loy McConnell, Thad Gabriel, B.S. Sherrill, Dennis Dellinger, 
Frank Howard, Walter Abernethy, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Secretary Sherrill presented financial statement, copy attached, show- 
ing balance on hand $3676.56. 

Thad Gabriel tendered his resignation. After discussion this was ac- 
cepted with regrets. Then it was unanimously agreed that Bill Holdsclaw, 
R.F.D. Sherrills Ford, be appointed trustee in his place. 

Walter Abernethy stated Ralph Sherrill was interested in buying tim- 
ber on back of grounds. It was feeling of trustees that timber should be 
preserved for future use. 

Trustees agreed unanimously to ask Rev. Jack Cooke of Cherryville 
to conduct services this year. Loy McConnell and Dennis Dellinger to 
work on youth minister and song leader. 

Voted to let E. Lincoln Optimists Club have shack for $700 if they 
were agreeable. No one else has expressed any interest. 

Annual meeting to be held 5 p.m. May 3, 1970. 



Trustees Elect Officers 

May 31 - Annual meeting under arbor. Present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, 
Walter Abernethy, Ted Broach, Bill Holdsclaw, Frank Howard, B.S. Sherrill, 
Loy McConnell, Rev. Paul Ridenhour, H.A. Jonas, Jr., Dennis Dellinger. 
Officers elected: Mayor, Wm. Lee Sigmon; Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill; 
Asst. Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill, Jr.; Secretary, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 
Committees reestablished as follows: 
Shack - Walter Abernethy and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 
Pre-Camp & Grounds - B.S. Sherrill, D.B. Dellinger and Wm. Lee 



1970 



Sigmon 

Sanitary & Building - Frank Howard, Loy McConnell and Bill 
Holdsclaw 

Program & Worship - Rev. Ridenhour, Loy McConnell, D.B. 
Dellinger and Ted Broach 

Matter of tent tax and needed improvements discussed. Agreed that 
we needed to improve our sanitary setup. Dennis Dellinger moved to 
increase tent tax $2.00. Seconded by Loy McConnell and carried. 

Moved, seconded and carried for mayor and Sanitary & Building 
Committee to proceed to investigate and make sanitary improvements. 

Rev. Ridenhour stated this was his last year and last meeting. He 
expressed his deep appreciation for every assistance. New minister will 
be here 4th Sunday in June. Mayor Sigmon expressed thanks of trustees 
to Rev. Ridenhour. Sentiments also expressed by Ted Broach, B.S. Sherrill 
and others. 



Rock Spring Plans Set 



Louis Murray and David Baxter are two young men trying to win 
friends and influence people. ..for Christ. 

They are ministers who have a genuine interest in people and a 
vital enthusiasm for life, and they will be sharing this enthusiasm with 
the people attending Rock Spring Campmeeting the first week in Au- 
gust. 

As minister of the Rock Spring Charge, the Rev. Murray will be camp 
minister. The Rev. Baxter will be youth director during the week. 

They are a part of the six-member camp staff working with the board 



1970 



of trustees in the 141st session of the campmeeting. The session gets 
underway with a singing at 7:30 on Saturday night, August 1. 

Plans for the week were well underway when Mr. Murray was as- 
signed to the Rock Springs Charge by the annual Western North Caro- 
lina Conference in June. Families started moving onto the grounds as 
early as the first weekend in July and by this weekend most of the 214 
wooden tents are expected to be occupied. 

Mr. Murray has become involved in the campmeeting as a minister 
and as a newcomer to the community which eagerly anticipates this 
annual awakening within its midst. 

"I am looking forward to the campmeeting. Fellowship is one of the 
really great things of the week, and centered around a spirit of worship, 
great things can be accomplished," said Mr. Murray. 

"Young people attending the youth service at 4:00 every afternoon 
will be asking themselves, 'How mod is Christ? Who am I, anyway? Where 
does Christ fit in, as I know my world and myself?' and other questions 
pertinent in a changing world. I know where we will begin, and I know 
where we will end," said the youth director, Mr. Baxter. "But where we 
go in between will be determined by the young people... their age, their 
response." 

His flexible plans for the week will begin with an awareness of the 
world and follow with self-examination, young people who keep get- 
ting confused, and decisions. 

"I will not be preaching as such," stated Mr. Baxter. "My ideas are 
such that they can be adapted to the group. The whole idea is to help 
young people understand what it means to live. ..not just to exist, but to 
really live life as Christ offered when he said, 'I have come that you 
might live.' Every time we adults define life, something comes along to 
complicate it and to raise more questions in the minds of your young 
people," he added. 



1970 



David Baxter came to Hills Chapel United Methodist Church in June 
of 1969 from his first pastorate in Asheboro. He is a young man with 
definite, and sometimes very innovative, ideas. 

As a member of the Charlotte District program council, he spent 
three days last week with other district program council members of the 
Western N.C. Conference at AT & T University, Greensboro, exploring 
and evaluating problems concerning racism and social revolution. He 
has worked in district workshops for leadership training in the new struc- 
ture of the United Methodist Church. 

He is married to the former Linda Shepherd of High Point and they 
have a baby son, Andy. 

Mr. Murray came to the Rock Spring Charge in June after serving his 
pastorate in Kannapolis. He is married to the former Sandra Cooper of 
Salisbury. They are parents of a baby son, Brandon. 

He noted the main purpose of the campmeeting is for spiritual 
growth. 

"I would strongly urge the campers and visitors to come in the spirit 
of the original campers - for the fellowship, yes, but for spiritual enrich- 
ment first of all," added the young minister. 

While this will be his first experience working with a campmeeting, 
such an event is familiar to him. His parents, the Rev. and Mrs. C.C. 
Murray, grew up in the Balls Creek community. Though he was born 
while his father served a pastorate in Boone, the family moved "all over 
North Carolina while I was growing up." 

One year, his father was preacher for Balls Creek Campmeeting. 

"We tented that year, so I am a veteran camper," Lou Murray teased 
this week. 



1970 



Trustees Ask for Christian View 

The Rock Spring Board of Trustees have emphasized the spiritual 
nature of the annual campmeeting, and want to get away from the idea 
that the 10-day period of worship is primarily a "vacation" period. They 
have issued the following statement: 

"The trustees of the Rock Spring Campmeeting are concerned about 
the spiritual life of this annual event. We especially are concerned about 
the way an increasing number of persons appear to be interpreting the 
purpose of campmeeting. It seems that many see campmeeting as a time 
of vacation and fellowship. We, the Trustees of the Campground, do not 
want to play down the importance of Christian fellowship and relax- 
ation. However, the campmeeting was founded for the purpose of spiri- 
tual growth in the lives of the persons who attend." 

"We the trustees want to challenge everyone who are going to camp- 
meeting to participate in the various worship services of the week. We 
hope each person will examine critically his reasons for going to camp- 
meeting and will decide to go primarily for the purpose of increasing 
and deepening his spiritual life." 

The trustees are as follows: The Rev. Louis H. Murray, B.S. Sherrill, 
Frank Howard, William Lee Sigmon, Loy McConnell, Dennis Dellinger, 
Walter Abernethy, Ted Broach, Harvey A. Jonas, Jr., and Bill Holdsclaw. 



Trustees Want Shack Closed for Services 

July 19 - Purpose: to meet new pastor, Louis Murray. 

General affairs discussed. Agreed to suggest to Optimists Club that 
shack be closed during services, but to leave decision up to club for this 
year. 



10 



ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 

DENVER, NC 

AUGUST 1 - 9, 1970 



CAMP STAFF 



Rev. Louis H. Murray, Camp Minister 
Rev. Jack Cooke, Camp Preacher 
Mr. Roy A. Cook, Song Leader 



Mrs. Ted Barnett, Children's Worker 

Rev. David Baxter, Youth Minister 

Mrs. Joyce Hilderbrand, Pianist 



SATURDAY. AUGUST 1 
7:30 p.m. 

SUNDAY. AUGUST 2 
10:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 
7:30 p.m. 

MONDAY, AUGUST 3 
4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 

9:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5 

9:00 a.m. 

11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 
THURSDAY, AUGUST 6 

9:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 
FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 

9:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 
SATURDAY. AUGUST 8 

9:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 

SUNDAY. AUGUST 9 

10:00 a.m. 

11:00 a.m. 

3:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 



Old-time singing. Everyone is invited. We extend a cordial invitation to all 
singers, choirs, quartets, etc., who will come and participate in this program. 

Sunday School, Mr. Eli Houser, Vale, NC 

Dr. Harlan L. Creech, Jr., District Superintendent, Charlotte, NC 
Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke, Chaplain for Carolina Freight, 
Cherryville, NC 

Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter, Hills Chapel Methodist Church, 

Lowesville, NC 

Worship Service, Rev Jack Cooke 

Children's Service, Mrs. Ted Barnett, Lincolnton, NC 
Rev. Luther McPherson, Terrell Charge, Terrell, NC 
Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter 
Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 

Children's Service, Mrs. Ted Barnett 

Rev. John Oakley, Concord-Hopewell Charge, Catawba, NC 

Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter 

Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 

Children's Service, Mrs. Ted Barnett 

Rev. Dewey D. Murphy, Unity Presbyterian Church, Denver. NC 

Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter 

Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 

Children's Service, Mrs. Ted Barnett 

Rev. Darrell Saunders, Lawing Chapel Baptist Church, Maiden, NC 

Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter 

Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 

Children's Service, Mrs. Ted Barnett 
Rev. David Baxter 

Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter 
Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 

Sunday School, Rev. Grady N. Dulin, Retired Methodist Minister, Cornelius, NC 
Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 
Young People's Service, Rev. David Baxter 
Worship Service, Rev. Jack Cooke 



11 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1970 

Total Collections $4331.49 

DISBURSEMENTS 

Preachers $325.00 

Choir Director 125.00 

Pianist 125.00 

Youth's Service 110.00 

Police 350.00 

Meals: Preachers, Police 71.40 

Collecting Taxes 45.00 

Electric Bill 250.10 

Children Service 100.00 

Picking up Garbage 125.00 

Labor 267.36 

Supplies 68.40 

Piano Delivery and Pickup 46.35 

PA. System 90.00 

Rader Insurance Agency 46.00 

Toilet Service 412.00 

TOTAL: $2,556.61 

BALANCE: $1774.88 

BALANCE IN BANK OF CORNELIUS: $5,396.01 



12 




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13 




Beaut}' parlor time 



14 




Two campmeeting veterans headed for worship senice 



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18 



1971 

Trustees Hold Annual Meet 

May 2 - Present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, Bill Holdsclaw, B.S. Sherrill, D.B. 
Dellinger, Ted Broach, Frank Howard, Loy McConnell, H.A. Jonas, Jr., 
Rev. Louis Murray and Walt Abernethy. 

Bill Sigmon reported about ten tent sites had been given to pro- 
spective builders this year. 

Rev. Murray reported Walt Abernethy had failed in attempt to rent 
Callaway building. Dennis Dellinger reported Optimists Club had rented 
it to keep any outsider from getting it this year, and had paid $150.00 
for year. Rev. Murray stated that Optimists Club wanted shack, and Webbs 
Chapel Church also. 

S.D. Howard was present representing Denver Lions Club, propos- 
ing to prepare brochure on campground and campmeeting, as Lions 
project, and to sell this at campmeeting. Hope to do this each year. Moved 
to give Lions Club permission to undertake this project on a one-year 
basis, with understanding that we would work with Lions in future years. 
Carried unanimously. 

Rev. Murray reported programs and ministers were set up except for 
1 1 a.m. daily service. Agreed to make this a lay-witness sharing group- 
type program, with Ted Broach in charge. It was felt that this would 
stimulate a spiritual atmosphere. 

Regarding shack, secretary to notify Webbs Chapel, Optimists, Li- 
ons and VFD to submit bids to Walt Abernethy by May 20. Specify clos- 
ing time during service. 

Officers elected as follows: Mayor, Wm. Lee Sigmon; Treasurer, B.S. 
Sherrill; Asst. Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill, Jr.; Secretary, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Frank Howard reported J. W. Avery bid on re-covering shack $660.00. 
In addition, back part will have to be re-sheeted. Voted to give Frank 
Howard authority to proceed. 



19 



1971 



Trustees Have Special Meeting 

Present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, Walter Abernethy, Bill Holdsclaw, Frank 
Howard, D.B. Dellinger, B.S. Sherrill, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., H.A. Jonas, Jr., Rev. 
Louis Murray. 

Treasurer presented annual report showing balance on hand 
$4994.38. 

Rev. Murray stated Howard Allred would be main pastor this year, 
and Frank Grice for young people. 

Matter of Calloway store building across road from campground was 
discussed. Desire of trustees to rent this on long-term basis so that it 
would not interfere with use of campground shack. Walt Abernethy and 
Bill Holdsclaw to work on this, up to $100.00 per year. 

Renting of shack was discussed, including idea of closing during 
Sunday morning service and/or all services. 

Walter Abernethy reported that Jiffie John company in Charlotte 
would rent up to 25 Johns, set down where we want them, leave there 
for 2 weeks, 2 clean-outs each week, for $25.00 per John. Resolved to 
authorize renting of 20 Johns this year by Walter Abernethy. 

Resolved that Building Committee proceed to inspect buildings and 
arbor, repair roofs, make any repairs required. 

Resolved that shack be offered this year with understanding that 
shack be closed at 11 a.m. service each Sunday and 7:30 service each 
night. Motion seconded. Voted 3 in favor, 1 against. Motion carried. 

Resolved to contribute $25.00 per year to Denver V.F.D. each year, 
and to pay this now for 1968, 1969 and 1970. 

Lots are still available without charge for building, 14' front, to be 
built on current year. Wm. Lee Sigmon will show lots available. 



20 



1971 



Sunday Night Service Discontinued 

With the transition from a rural farming family attendance at camp- 
meeting in horse and wagon to modern-day workers who report to of- 
fice and factory on Monday mornings, practically all families are now 
moving out the second Sunday afternoon instead of waiting until Mon- 
day morning. This has led to a dwindling attendance at the evening 
service the last Sunday night. Trustees voted to discontinue the service 
for 1971. 



Camp Staff Complete 

Rev. G. Howard Allred of Concord, who served eight years at Maylo 
United Methodist Church, will be the preacher for evening services dur- 
ing the week, and Rev. Franklin Grice of Fair View United Methodist 
Church, Mt. Mourne, will be youth minister. 

Mrs. Ted Barnett, of Lincolnton, is returning as children's worker 
and Dean Burke of Maiden will be song leader. 

Rev. Louis Murray, pastor of the Rock Springs Charge at Denver and 
camp minister, said the week offers a sound program for everyone. 

The session will open with an old timey singing Saturday night, 
July 31, beginning at 7:30. The singing will feature the Burke family of 
Maiden, the Philomels of Statesville and the New Hope Quartet of 
Robinsville, along with other groups. 

Walter Abernathy of Denver, a campground trustee, will teach the 
Sunday School lesson at 10:00 on the opening Sunday, and Rev. Murray 
will preach at 11:00. 

Rev. Allred will deliver his first sermon Sunday night at 7:30 and 
will preach at that hour each night through Saturday. This will be the 
only service on Monday, Aug. 2. 

21 



1971 



Tuesday through Saturday, Mrs. Barnett will lead the children's ser- 
vice at 9:00 a.m., lay witness sharing groups will meet at 1 1:00 a.m., Rev. 
Grice will lead the youth program at 4:00 p.m., and the evening service 
is at 7:30. 

The lay witness sharing groups are a change this year from the tradi- 
tional 11:00 worship. Rev. Murray and the trustees said that because of 
changes in the regular tenters' routines during the week, the sharing 
groups will better serve those on the grounds in the morning. 

The 11:00 p.m. Communion Service for youth, held the past few 
years, will be omitted on the last Saturday night. In its place at 10:00 
p.m. Jim Douthat, Duke student working this summer on the Rock Spring 
Charge, will tell of his travels in Europe and Russia. Douthat is a rising 
senior in the Divinity School. 

The closing worship will be at 11:00 a.m. on the second Sunday 
with Rev. Allred preaching. The 7:30 p.m. service has been dropped from 
the schedule. 

Rev. W.L. Harkey, retired Methodist minister, will teach the Sunday 
School lesson at 10:00 a.m. on the second Sunday. 

Dates for 1971 were July 31 - August 8. 



22 



1971 



They Brought Live Chickens 

It was the middle of the after- 
noon and the rain had stopped at 
the campgrounds. Inside her tent, 
Mrs. S.D. Howard was rising from 
an afternoon's nap. 

"A young girl like me," she 
said, brushing off the front of her 
dress as she came out, "needs a 
beauty nap about this time of day." 

Mrs. Howard is 81. This year 
makes the 79th year that she has 
attended Rock Spring campmeet- 
ing. She missed one year because 
of the polio epidemic (they didn't 
have a meeting that year), and she 
missed another one "back there be- 
cause of meningitis or something." 

She remembers when the wa- 
ter for drinking and cooking had 
to be carried from the springs. 
"That's why they call it Rock Spring." 

She remembers when everyone used to bring their chickens in cages 
and pen them up in a man's yard across the street. The people would 
feed them during the day and, when they wanted chicken, they would 
go over and get one of their chickens and chop its head off. 

"We had no refrigerators back then, no electricity, no running wa- 
ter; nothin' but a place over our heads," she said. "We still got the same 
place over our heads but the conveniences are a little better." 

Mrs. Howard is the mother of twelve children, eleven of whom are 
alive. 




Mrs. S.D. Howard 
79 Campmeetings 



23 



1971 



Campmeetin' Time 



"Campmeetin' time!" 

This time of year, those words roll around in the imagination of 
thousands of people in this area and come out in the form of big smiles 
and bright spirits. 

"It's the Fourth of July, Christmas and Halloween all rolled up in 
one," said an old man in faded overalls as he stood beside "The Shack" 
at Rock Spring Campground one day this week. 

"It's good old-timey fun!" said an 81-year-old woman as she sat on 
the worn bench nailed to the front porch of her tent. 

"It's singing and jawin' and smelling country ham frying in the 
morning. It's going to revival at night and then giggling yourself to 
sleep after you pulled a good 'un on your neighbor," said a 41 -year-old 
mother of three as she sat on her swing and watched the parade of young 
people walk by shortly after supper. 

Campmeetin' time - it's this and more. 

It's the baby who wakes up to the world and gets an unusual view of 
people instead of a television set. It's the young swain who meets and 
falls in love with the blossoming damsel down the row. 

It's the love affair that grows painfully from that first meeting in the 
arbor, the singing of "The Old Rugged Cross" together, the wandering, 
painful steps of love that lead from one day to the other through the 
year and finally the wedding vows taken at the campground under the 
arbor with a thousand or more friends grinning and shouting good luck 
as you beat a frantic retreat to the waiting honeymoon car. 

It's the 150-year-old arbor, the revival place, the worship spot that 
has drawn a million people, perhaps, in its time; people who came for 
inspiration, people who came to share love, people who wanted to hear 
a good sermon, people who know the joys and fruits of hard labor and 
the smell of sweat, people who wanted something and people who had 
something to give. 

24 



1971 



Campmeetin' time! 

It's the sound of the music director warming his choir's voices be- 
fore the service. It's those same voices blending in harmony and swell- 
ing with enthusiasm as they work their way through a half dozen "good 
old Baptist" hymns in a Methodist campground; and it's those same 
voices sitting mute, now turned into ears and listening as the silver- 
haired minister stirs his audience with verbal fireworks and then ham- 
mers home a point like thunder. 

It's the meeting of old friends you haven't seen in a year and the 
catching up on gossip and the inquiring about the pains and sorrows 
that you share. It's a pat on the shoulder, a firm handclasp, the look of 
love in one eye to the other, and it's more than that. 

When you come to a campmeeting, you bring everything you use, 
for the tents that you stay in are not locked, ever, and nothing is left 
behind when you leave. So you haul in a refrigerator on a pickup and 
bring in your mattress and chairs, your swing and stove, all your uten- 
sils and bedclothes and, friend, you're in business. 

When you have done all that, when you have looked forward to 
this week ever since it ended last year, when you have sat on the chil- 
dren and told them not to explode - yet - and when you finally have 
gathered up yourself on the swing outside and pushed off for the first 
time, then, old partner, it's like the children that wandered in the wil- 
derness for 40 days and finally arrived in the promised land. 

Campmeetin' time and hallelujah! 

It is a rustic, another-world setting in which Rock Spring Camp- 
meeting takes place. 

You look at the rows of tents and see shacks that are comparable to 
old barns and cow stalls, lined up row on row, their unpainted, rough 
oak lumber a reminder that most of these buildings were put together 
by toughened hands 100 years - 150 years ago. 

25 



1971 



And longer ago than that - 200 years maybe - somebody came up 
with the idea that if the people had a place to gather once a year that 
something extra-special in a circuit rider could be brought in, and he 
could preach to the people. 

Too, there would be a rare chance to hobnob with neighbors un- 
seen for some time and they could maybe take part in some kind of 
entertainment and listen to rousing sermons and get rid of some of those 
emotions cramped up by a hog-and-hominy existence on the farm. 

And maybe some of them would come away with a hybrid kind of 
experience, with the Lord putting in part and the devil adding his own 
kind of juice. 

That's the way with campmeetings, even today. The devil's there, 
some say, sneaking around in the darkness of night, enticing, cajoling, 
throwing up temptations in just the same manner that he did to Adam 
and Eve a few years back. 

Carleen Hunsucker of Greensboro is a fixture at Rock Spring. For 41 
years ("that's my age"), she has been coming to the campmeeting. "Maybe 
I missed one or two, but it'd take a funeral or a back body function to 
keep me home from campmeeting." 

She brings her three children. One of them came running up to her 
and yelled, "Mama! Mama!" 

"Hush, young'un," she admonished. "Didn't I tell you not to call 
me 'mama' at the campmeeting! How you expect me to do any flirtin' if 
the men know I'm a mama?" 

She gave the lad a stern look and then a wink and her laughter 
rolled across the evening dew like the sound of a running brook in a 
meadow. 

"I got all kinds of tales," she said. "I know everything there is to 
know about campmeetings, and I know what goes on. And, hoo boy! 
does it go on!" 

26 



1971 



She was more brag than substance, however. When asked to pro- 
duce the proof, all she could relate was the time she and four other 
women sneaked into a bald-headed man's tent and got him into trouble 
with his wife. 

"We knew that he got up each morning and went home to Denver 
and ate breakfast with his wife," Mrs. Hunsucker said. "We also knew 
that he didn't wash here but did at home. So, in his sleep - and he was a 
sound sleeper - we kissed him on his bald head and left lipstick all over. 
Sure enough, he got up next morning and went straight home. His wife 
started to coming with him to campmeeting." 

Bill Williams, Editor 
Gastonia Gazette 



27 






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29 



Campmeeting Staff - 1971 




Re\'erend Mr. Louis H. Murray, 
Camp Minister 




Reverend Mr. G. Howard Allred, 
Guest Camp Minister 




Mr. Udean Burke, 
Song Leader 




Reverend Mr. Franklin W. Grice, 
Youth Minister 



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31 



Tent Owners - 1971 



1. W. Blair Abernathy 

2. R.M. Thompson 

3. Frank King 

4. O.F. Howard 

5. R.M. Thompson 

6. Ollie D. Dellinger 

7. S.W. Mundy 

8. Mrs. W.W. Thompson 

9. Russell Cherry 

10. J.L. Jenkins 

11. Mrs. Quida Sigmon 

12. L.W. Little 

13. B.S. Sherrill 

14. G.A. Long 

15. A.W. Eudy & CD. Morris 

16. Otha Brotherton 

17. CarlMcGee 

18. H.N. Little 

19. Schamp Lowe 

20. J.V. Rhyne 

21. Jessie Faye Thompson 

22. Yates Brotherton 

23. F.G. McCall 

24. Mrs. J.B. Cashion 

25. Mrs. Alex Little 

26. Richard Sigmon 

27. Graham Goodrum 

28. Edna Arwell 

29. R.H. Harwell, Jr. 

30. John Baxter 

31. Ford Mathew 

32. James Hobbs 

33. Mr. and Mrs. Ottie Robinson 

34. Z.C. Robinson 

35. Mr. & Mrs. Terry & Sam Moore 

36. George & Mary McAlister 

37. Kirby Dellinger 

38. Emma Sherrill 



39. M.H. Brotherton 

40. Mrs. Jessie Duckworth 

41. J.E. Helms, Sr. 

42. Monroe Howard 

43. H.C. Barkley 

44. H.C. Barkley 

45. Mrs. Elma Little 

46. John T. Hobbs 

47. Mrs. Joyce Swanzey 

48. Glen Ballard 

49. Jack Beatty 

50. J.P. Mundy 

51. T. Roger Sigmon 

52. C.V. Sigmon 

53. B.C. Ballard 

54. J.F. White 

55. W.C. Buff 

56. Paul H. Reynolds 

57. B.D. Jones 

58. Preachers' Tent 

(First Aid & Life Saving) 

59. Horace W. Jetton 

60. C.S. Dellinger 

61. Harold Sherrill 

62. Jacob Michael 

63. Mrs. J.F. Houser 

64. W.D. Sherrill 

65. Lee Killiam 

66. L.C. Dellinger 

67. H.A. Jones 

68. T.L. Dellinger 

69. J.W. Henkel 

70. J.S. Hallman 

71. Frank Howard 

72. Loy Howard 

73. Grace Smith 

74. Key Howard 

75. Minnie R. Keever 



32 



76. 


M.L. Sigmon 


114. 


L.A. Brotherton 


77. 


John R. Asbury 


115. 


Flake McConnell 


78. 


Cecil M. Dellinger 


116. 


F.R. McConnell 


79. 


Lee Cherry 


117. 


J.A. Mundy 


80. 


Neal Sifford 


118. 


J.G. Edwards 


81. 


James Barker 


119. 


Ethel Howard 


82. 


Clyde Smith, Jr. 


120. 


L.B. Sherrill 


83. 


Mrs. Zeta Thompson 


121. 


C.L. Howard 


84. 


J.W. Dellinger 


122. 


R.R. Howard 


85. 


J.D. Finger, Jr. 


123. 


Cordie Sherrill 


86. 


D.W. Barkley 


124. 


Daisy Brotherton 


87. 


Mrs. Lyle Edwards 


125. 


Ernest Newton 


88. 


D.B. Dellinger 


126. 


L.B. Sherrill 


89. 


Joyce Howard 


127. 


ED. Little 


90. 


Keith Goodson 


128. 


Thomas Primm 


91. 


Bob Mundy 


129. 


James Brotherton 


92. 


Don Cherry 


130. 


Z.D. Brotherton 


93. 


K.A. Mundy 


131. 


J.L. Barker 


94. 


O.W. Shelton 


132. 


Mr. & Mrs. B.L. Lucky 


95. 


Robert Howard 


133. 


Robert W. Cline 


96. 


Irvin Sherrill 


134. 


Robert W. Cline 


97. 


Gabriel J. Little 


135. 


J.M. Hucks 


98. 


R.P. Aiken 


136. 


Yates K. Wilkinson, Sr. 


99. 


J.L. McConnell 


137. 


Dorothy Howard Morrison 


100. 


Harold Howard 


138. 


Cora & Judy Readling 


101. 


Perry T. Nixon 


139. 


Mr. & Mrs. C.B. Hoke 


102. 


Mrs. Lucille Goodson 


140. 


Mrs. Edger McCloud 


103. 


M.L. Little 


141. 


W.T. Caldwell 


104. 


I.H. Howard 


142. 


S.O. Proctor 


105. 


Lester Little 


143. 


C.R. Turbyfill 


106. 


Jack Little 


144. 


M.G. Lineberger 


107. 


S.M. Brotherton 


145. 


D.H. Holdsclaw 


108. 


H.A. Primm 


146. 


S.J. Nixon 


109. 


S.M. Brotherton 


147. 


Frank Cherry, Sr. 


110. 


W.A. Cashion 


148. 


J.W. Sigmon 


111. 


Coley Howard 


149. 


Richard Howard 


112. 


Mrs. Seab Howard 


150. 


Rona Mae Bost 


113. 


Mrs. H.B. McGee 


151. 


Henry M. Sherrill 



33 



152. 


Joe Ross 


190. 


Avery Black 


153. 


Mrs. M.K. Ballard 


191. 


S.R. Jones 


154. 


Doyle P. Gilliland 


192. 


Beulah A. Pryor 


155. 


Everette Caldwell 


193. 


Joan E. Hunsucker 


156. 


Ivey D. Proctor 


194. 


J.S. Brawley 


157. 


Alvin Gilliland 


195. 


Ivey Cheny 


158. 


John H. Harris, Jr. 


196. 


Mr. & Mrs. Harold Cherry 


159. 


Mr. & Mrs. George M Hoyle 


197. 


Edna Lowe Nantz 


160. 


Halley Blythe 


198. 


R.C. Ballard 


161. 


Alex Mundy 


199. 


Albert F. Hager 


162. 


Mrs. T. Maurile Crouse 


200. 


Mrs. Ida Broadway 


163. 


Albert Lynch 


201. 


J.E. Black 


164. 


Glenn E. Hicks 


202. 


Mrs. Lois Beam 


165. 


H.P. Dellinger 


203. 


G.M. Sherrill 


166. 


Kemp Dellinger 


204. 


G.M. Sherrill 


167. 


Joe Shuford 


205. 


Aileen Broadwell 


168. 


George Michael 


206. 


Hugh Sherrill 


169. 


David Stroud 


207. 


H.M. Sherrill 


170. 


Cordie Hill 


208. 


M.F. Primm 


171. 


R.M. Nixon 


209. 


Francis Sherrill 


172. 


M.M. Carpenter 


210. 


William Little 


173. 


J.M. Little 


211. 


Baxter Lineburger 


174. 


Kemp Finger 


212. 


O.M. Abernathy 


175. 


J. P. Mundy 


213. 


Fannie S. Nixon 


176. 


Mrs. G.S. Duckworth 


214. 


Kenneth Lawing 


177. 


Catherine Miller Long 


215. 


Mrs. Mary Watson, 


178. 


R.C. Hager 




Mrs. Ella Gardner 


179. 


Josie Duckworth 


216. 




180. 


J.H. Hager 


217. 


Roy Lee Abernathy 


181. 


Ed Hager 






182. 


Morris Hager 






183. 


B.A. Dellinger 






184. 


Harold Perkins 






185. 


R.M. Query 






186. 


Mr. & Mrs. John H. Goodson 






187. 


Ned Nantz 






188. 


W.M. Link 






189. 


W.B. Mcintosh 







34 



1971 



Campmeetin' Time 



"Being at a campmeeting was like standing at the gate of heaven 
and seeing it opened before you," Frances Trollope (The Domestic Man- 
ners of the Americans, 1832.) 

In Lincoln County, NC, rural road 1373 swerves gently to the right 
1/2 mile east of the small town of Denver. In the bend of the turn huddles 
Rock Spring Campmeeting Grounds, a quadrangle of more than 250 
shacks with an open-sided arbor in the center. 

The shacks stand in rows like weathered chicken houses with low 
shed roofs, leaning on one another to share an interior wall. The outside 
walls are slatted, letting horizontal bars of light stream through. Tin 
roofs wink back at the sun. Porch swings have been carefully battened 
down, but doors stand ajar, exposing empty interiors. 

The unpaved quadrangle wears a look of abandonment. A few tire 
tracks crease the hard red clay and a broken ball bat lies under an oak. 
There are no fences or gates, no signs to indicate a name or purpose. Yet 
for the past century and a half, Rock Spring Campground has exerted 
sufficient force in religious tradition to merit listing in the National 
Registration of Historic Places. 

"But you should have been here in August," nearby Denver resi- 
dents will tell you. For in August the quadrangle springs alive for one 
full week with the vitality of a state fair, the vigor of a pep rally. "It's 
campmeetin' time again!" 

Defying the heat, humidity, rain and insects of dog days, about 2000 
habitues move into primitive shacks (called tents in camp vernacular) 
to await the opening hymn-singing on Saturday night. These partici- 
pants come from as far away as Texas and California in a spirit of cama- 
raderie and varying degrees of religious zeal for the week of concen- 
trated preaching, singing and visiting. On Big Sunday, the final day, the 
throng swells to 15,000 or more ground-sitting worshippers (the arbor 
seats about 1000.) 

35 



1971 



Rock Spring is probably the oldest operating campground in the 
country, being an outgrowth of the old Rehoboth, NC, meeting of 1 794. 
It has operated in its present location since 1828, having missed only 
two sessions (once during the Civil War, the other during the polio epi- 
demic of 1948.) The present arbor was built in 1832, and two of the 
tents predate it. 

There seems little doubt as to its continuation. On Halloween Eve 
1973 a fire blazed through the grounds, leveling 92 of the 300 tents. 
Within a year, 72 tents had been rebuilt; the other 20 rose early the 
following year. Space is being cleared for another row of tents and the 
waiting list grows. 

The American campmeeting had its beginning during the Great 
Revival, a period of deep religious fervor spanning the years between 
the American Revolution and the Civil War. It was a period of illiteracy 
for the masses. As the frontier moved westward, cultural and spiritual 
refinements were left behind. Pioneers, faced with a brute struggle for 
survival, lived by emotions - drinking, brawling, debauching, fighting. 
The Sabbath was profaned. 

There were few churches and meetinghouses on the frontier. Except 
for militia drills, cabin raisings and corn cuttings, there was little social- 
izing or contact with persons outside the family. 

Against this background of raw frontier the campmeeting came to 
life. Generally it was spawned by the circuit rider, an itinerant horse- 
back preacher-man who braved the elements to carry the gospel to the 
outer reaches. He was a hearty sort, fired with enough zeal to overcome 
ague (wood fever) and endure a saddlebag existence. He was a true forest 
evangel, sleeping in the woods, fording streams, feeding on jerky (dried 
strips of beef or venison) and whatever handouts the cabin dwellers could 
afford. He searched out homesteads and knocked on doors. 

When word spread that the circuit rider was at a particular cabin (he 

36 



1971 



left posters on trees, told homesteaders en route) folks would flock from 
miles around. If the crowd was large enough he preached outdoors, un- 
der the trees. As the group expanded, brush arbors (leaves, branches and 
pine boughs suspended from tripods) were quickly raised. Those travel- 
ing long distances spent the night, sleeping on straw in their wagons or 
on the ground beside their horses. 

Eventually they brought provisions, pitched tents and lengthened 
their stay to days. Permanent wooden arbors, always open-sided to sat- 
isfy the love of nature, replaced the brush shelter - and a socio-religious 
institution was born! 

Because there were scant records, it is difficult to affix a date or loca- 
tion for most campgrounds. Records do exist for a Rehoboth Campmeet- 
ing as early as 1794 in Lincoln County, NC. Some historians, however, 
discount this since the outdoor sessions were initiated only because the 
church was still under construction. But Rev. Daniel Asbury, the Meth- 
odist minister who conducted the Rehoboth meetings, was so exhila- 
rated by its success that he continued encampments both at Rehoboth 
and nearby locations the following year, assisted by his Presbyterian co- 
worker James Hall. 

Campmeetings are known to have taken place before the turn of 
the century in scattered sections of Tennessee and Kentucky, with evan- 
gelists John and William McGee, James McGready and others in promi- 
nence as camp leaders. In 1811, Bishop Francis Asbury (relation to Rev. 
Daniel Asbury is undetermined) of the Methodist Church wrote circuit 
rider Jacob Gruber that "campmeetings were held in practically every 
state of the Republic." Their westward spread can be charted side by side 
with the movement of the frontier, and for more than 50 years camp- 
meetings flourished from Martha's Vineyard, MA, to the valleys of Or- 
egon and California. 

The tradition cannot be attributed to one religious denomination, 

37 



1971 



although the Methodist Episcopal Church seems to have been the fore- 
runner and principal adherent. Campmeetings generally were nonde- 
nominational and still are. 

Encampments were laid out in clearings near springs in a circular, 
rectangular or horseshoe fashion, with an arbor in the center. Tents of 
cotton or sailcloth, and sometimes old quilts or sheets sewn together, 
were pitched. Straw and hay were often spread on the ground for floor- 
ing. 

The main features were the pulpit at one or both ends of the arbor, 
usually on a raised platform, and a "mourner's bench" near the pulpit 
where the penitents could sit and ponder their trespasses. Logs or planks 
resting on tree stumps served as seats. The seats were backless, an early 
stipulation to discourage napping during lengthy sessions. Women sat 
on the right and men on the left. 

Slaves, brought along to cook and tend the livestock, usually occu- 
pied the same space behind the preacher's rostrum. Their crazy-quilt 
tents added a colorful dimension. 

Campmeetings usually lasted from three days to a week. Each day 
began with a horn blast (later a bell) at 5 a.m. and continued through 
hours of preaching, singing and socializing. Some encampments enforced 
early curfews, demanding that all be bedded and candles doused by 10 
o'clock or earlier. Others, particularly when a fiery evangelist was in 
charge, extended preaching till dawn. 

The success of an encampment was determined by the number of 
converts. Thus great dramatic oratory was demanded. The congregation 
was first lulled into a penitent state by hymn singing. The preacher "lined 
a hymn" by reading two lines, then the congregation sang them back. 
Lining was unnecessary for such camp favorites as "Am I a Soldier of the 
Cross" or "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood" but the refrains were 
repeated several times between verses. Often the preacher and congrega- 

38 



1971 



tion together composed a spontaneous hymn. 

After a receptive mood was established, the preacher "lit into" his 
congregation. He threatened fire and brimstone, cajoled, cried, pounded 
the pulpit, performed antics. Soon the penitents began groaning, roll- 
ing, writhing, shouting, swooning, even barking. For some the "jerks" 
set in, a manifestation wherein the heads of the afflicted jerked uncon- 
trollably for extended periods, extolled as a "coming through of the 
spirit." Those afflicted were said to have seen visions and purged their 
souls. The emotional excesses triggered physical responses that often 
troubled the clergy. 

Then the exhorter, usually a lay person appointed by the evange- 
list, took the rostrum. He called names, exposed both private and public 
sins and screamed for conversions. At the proper moment, the converted 
moved forward to the pulpit, many to sit weeping on the mourner's 
bench. 

Eventually encampments attracted the curious, drunks, the idle and 
profane, who hovered and threatened from the perimeter. They pilfered 
food, disrupted services, sold liquor to some of the already emotionally 
aroused campers. Their most dreaded prank was "tent rocking," whereby 
they stoned an encampment until all the tents were felled. 

Campmeeting time was determined by crops. Encampments were 
usually planned for "laying by" time, the lull between the first grain 
harvesting and early corn cutting when farmers could spare time away 
from their fields. 

Participants, sometimes numbering in the thousands, came as far as 
50 miles in wagons, sleds, buggies, ox-carts, chaises, sulkies or on horse- 
back. The nearby walked, carrying their shoes to preserve them for camp- 
meeting. They brought live cows and chickens, fresh sides of beef, pre- 
serves from their pantries. Cooking was done in back of the tents so 
smoke would not reach the arbor. Cooking odors swirled deliciously by 

39 



1971 



day. By night, shadows flickered in the light from glowing pine knots, 
lanterns and candles fastened to trees. 

Great preparations preceded the trip. Fresh vegetables were care- 
fully picked and packed, special delicacies were baked and new costumes 
were created. During the sessions friendships deepened and romances 
developed. 

By mid- 19th century, the campmeeting had peaked and rapidly de- 
clined thereafter. Churches, schools, meetinghouses, stores and finer 
houses provided more social contact. Settlers abandoned religious emo- 
tionalism for more reasoned expressions of faith. 

Most of the campgrounds and arbors surviving today are owned by 
a religious denomination, usually the United Methodist Church, and 
managed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees which assess an annual 
tent tax of owners. Tents are usually privately owned and maintained 
with pride, having been handed down from generation to generation. 
Few change hands and rarely is one available for purchase. As a rule, the 
minister of the closest Methodist church is in charge of religious ser- 
vices at the campgrounds. 

Since the camps are autonomous and operate under no central con- 
trol, it is practically impossible to assess the number still in existence. 
Most of them are probably located in the Bible Belt. In the Piedmont 
region of North Carolina, for instance, four encampments operate an- 
nually within a 75-mile radius. 

The National Register lists 12 religious campgrounds in 10 states, 
ranging geographically as far north as New York, as far south as Texas, 
and as far west as Iowa. The physical aspects of those listed are being 
preserved for posterity, but it remains to the campers themselves to pre- 
serve the religious tradition. Survival appears assured, if not for religious 
fervor, then for social attributes. 

Camp life at Rock Spring remains primitive, but it is no longer aus- 

40 



1971 



tere. There are no bathrooms, only outhouses a block or so away. Water 
is piped from the spring to the quadrangle at common spigots now, and 
a few of the tents boast kitchen sinks. Electricity has replaced candle 
power and occasionally a camper will bring a television set. Sermons are 
quietly reflective; the emotional extremes have been replaced by a few 
"Aniens" and "Praise Gods" while a service is in progress, and a public 
address system carries the sermons to those who prefer porch swings to 
sitting under the arbor. 

For 51 weeks a year Rock Spring is abandoned. But come campmeetin' 
time those rafters will be filled with preaching and praying, and voices 
will soar skyward with hymn singing. It is as compelling as the return of 
the geese, as natural as blackberry picking in summertime. 

Published in Historic Preservation, 1971 
Written by Elizabeth Simpson Smith, a 
free-lance writer living near Denver at 
that time. 



41 



1972 

Trustees Elect Officers 

May 7 - Present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, Loy McConnell, Bill 
Holdsclaw, Walt Abernethy, H.A.Jonas, Jr., Rev. Louis Murray, B.S. Sherrill, 
Jr., Ted Broach, Dennis Dellinger. 

Agreed Wm. Lee Sigmon have road around grounds pulled up as 
soon as possible. 

Rev. Murray reported Mr. Allred here as preacher for campmeeting, 
Johnny Lockman (seminary at Duke) is youth worker; same children 
worker, Bill Stevenson and wife (minister of music 1st Church, Char- 
lotte) as song leader. Ted Broach is to again serve as coordinator for lay 
witness program in lieu of morning service. Program complete except 
for minister for first Sunday morning service. 

Officers elected as follows: Mayor, Wm. Lee Sigmon; Treasurer, B.S. 
Sherrill; Assistant Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill, Jr.; Secretary, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Committees reappointed as follows: 

Grounds - Wm. Lee Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, D.B. Dellinger 

Building - Frank Howard, Loy McConnell, Bill Holdsclaw 

Shack - Walter Abernethy and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Program and Worship - Ted Broach, D.B. Dellinger, Loy McConnell 

Walter Abernethy authorized to rent 20 portable Johns. 

B.S. Sherrill presented annual statement of receipts and disburse- 
ments for 1971 session. 

Regarding shack, proposed to rent it again this year with under- 
standing that it would be closed during services: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily, 
11:00 a.m. to 12 noon Sunday. 

Walt Abernethy to talk with Ray Cloninger, E. Lincoln Optimists 
Club. 

Unanimously agreed 1 1:00 a.m. service on second Sunday to be last 
meeting of campground. 

There being no further business, meeting adjourned. 



42 



1972 



Campmeeting Begins with Singing 



Rev. Thomas J. Duncan of High 
Point, a dedicated young minister 
who believes in the need for strong 
prophetic and evangelistic preach- 
ing and who believes the pulpit 
ministry is still an effective means 
of making known the good news 
of God's love both to the church 
and to the world, will be guest 
camp minister for the 1972 Rock 
Spring Campmeeting beginning 
Sunday. 

Rev. Louis Murray of the Rock 
Spring Charge, Denver, host min- 
ister for the campground, released 
the schedule of activities of the 
week and announced the camp- 
meeting staff. 

The event officially gets under- 
way with the traditional old-time 
singing on Saturday. The singing 
will begin under the historic arbor 
at 7:30 p.m. 

Mr. and Mrs. J. William 
Stephenson of Charlotte will be 
song leader and pianist for the week 
and Mr. Stephenson will be in 
charge of the Saturday singing. He 
has been director of music at First 
United Methodist Church in Char- 



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: 



Campmeeting is for children. While the 

adults rest up or converse on tent porches or 

under shading trees the kids get to know each 

other for lots of fun. 




Campmeeting is for family. Above (L-R) Mr. 

Charlie Hoke of Davidson sits a spell with his 

father, Mr. C.T. Hoke, Sr., who is 97, and his 

daughter, Dorothy Gregory. 



43 



1972 



lotte since 1964. His wife is organ- 
ist there. 

Youth minister for the camp- 
meeting will be Rev. John Wesley 
Lockman, Lincolnton native now 
pastor of Mount Zion United 
Methodist Church in Hurdle Mills. 
He is married to the former 
Geraldyne Newton of Iron Station. 

Mrs. Ted Barnett of Lincoln- 
ton will again be children's direc- 
tor, and Ted Broach of North 
Wilkesboro will be lay witness di- 
rector. 

The host minister, Mr. Murray, 
will preach at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, 
the first worship service of the 
campmeeting. Mrs. Horace 
Abernathy of Denver United 
Methodist Church will teach the 
Sunday School at 10 a.m. 

At 7:30 p.m. Sunday through 
the following Saturday, August 12, 
the guest camp minister, Mr. 
Duncan, will preach. The evening 
worship will be the only service on 
Monday. 

Tuesday through Saturday, 
Mrs. Barnett will lead the 
children's service at 9:00 a.m., lay 




Campmeeting is for spiritual recreation. Mr. 

and Mrs. George McAllister of Cornelius relax 

on a tent porch swing. 




Re\'. Duncan and Mr. Herman Bolt 
following Sunday School hour. 



44 



1972 



witness sharing groups will meet at 1 1:00, the youth program will be at 
4 p.m., and the evening worship at 7:30 p.m. 

Big Sunday, Duncan will preach the closing service of the camp- 
meeting at 11:00 a.m. 

Murray and the camp trustees feel they have another good camp 
staff for the 1972 meeting. 

"I think in the last two years we have seen some good trends at Rock 
Spring Campmeeting. I refer specifically to the increase in attendance at 
our principal worship services. I appreciate each of you who has backed 
me and the trustees as we have tried to lead the campground in a recov- 
ery of its original purpose. We covet your support this year, too," Murray 
stated. 

While the annual Rock Spring campmeeting has become a part of 
life of many old families on both sides of "the river" (Lake Norman), it is 
a visible reason to newcomers why the South is still at times called the 
"Bible Belt." 



Campmeeting Spending 

Campmeeting expenses for 1972 amounted to $2,238.93. 



45 





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46 



The Reverend Thomas J. Duncan, 
Guest Camp Minister 




Guest camp minister for 1972 is the Reverend Thomas J. Duncan of 
High Point, North Carolina. Mr. Duncan says he spent the first part of 
his life looking for something to give his life meaning. Then in 1958, he 
experienced a transforming encounter with the spirit of Jesus Christ. 
This mysterious and wonderful experience set his life on a new course. 
Within one year after this encounter he found himself being pulled to- 
ward the preaching ministry. Gradually the call became so clear that he 
could not resist. He followed the usual channel into the United Meth- 
odist ministry: local preacher, approved, supply, student supply, Deacon 
and Elder. 

His schooling to prepare for an effective ministry consists of an A.B. 
degree from Greensboro College in 1964 and a Masters of Divinity de- 
gree from Duke Divinity School in 1968. 

He has served pastorates in Greensboro and Lexington. Presently he 
is the Minister of Education at First United Methodist Church, High 
Point. 

He married his high school sweetheart, Jeanne Kegley Duncan. They 
have one daughter, Joy Lyn, who is a rising junior at Central High School 
of High Point. 

Mr. Duncan relates that though he enjoys his work in Christian 
Education, he also believes in the need for strong prophetic and evange- 
listic preaching. He believes the pulpit ministry is an effective means of 
making known the Good News of God's love both to the church and to 
the world. 



47 



1972 



Mr . Duncan held a successful weekend revival in April of this year. 
The revival involved the four churches of the Rock Spring Charge - Bethel, 
Denver, Lebanon and Webb's Chapel. The people of these churches were 
inspired and blessed by his honest sharing of the Good News of the 
Christian Faith. 




The Reverend John Wesley Lockman, 
Youth Minister 



The Reverend Mr. John Lockman is presently the pastor of Mt. Zion 
United Methodist Church of Hurdle Mills, North Carolina. He is mar- 
ried to Geraldyne Newton Lockman of Iron Station, North Carolina. 
Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Newton, are residents of Iron Station. 

Mr. Lockman is a native of Lincolnton, North Carolina, and the son 
of Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Lockman. He is a graduate of Lincolnton High School 
and High Point College. He worked with the YMCA while in college and 
professionally for two years. 

Mr. Lockman left the YMCA in the spring of 1969 to accept a posi- 
tion with the Thomasville Furniture Company. He was there only six 
months when he accepted an appointment to the Hebron Charge in the 



48 



1972 



Albemarle District. He served there for two years. One year was full time 
and the other was as a student pastor attending Duke Divinity School. 
In June of 1971, he was assigned to the Mt. Zion Charge of the Durham 
District in the North Carolina Conference. 

His affiliation with the Western North Carolina Conference is with 
the Gastonia District and his home church is Boger City United Meth- 
odist Church of Boger City North Carolina. He is an ordained Deacon 
of the United Methodist Church. 



Mr. and Mrs. J. William Stephenson, 
Song Leader and Pianist 

Song Leader for the 1972 Rock Spring Campmeeting is Mr. J. Will- 
iam Stephenson of Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. He is a graduate of 
Mars Hill Junior College in Mars Hill, North Carolina, and of Westminster 
Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. 

Since graduation from Westminster Choir College, he served five 
years as Minister of Music at the Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church 
in Raleigh, North Carolina. In September of 1964, he came to First United 
Methodist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina, as Director of Music. 
He is presently still serving in Charlotte. 

Mr. Stephenson married the former Kathryn Phillips of Hazelton, 
Pennsylvania. She was an organ major and is a graduate of Westminster 
Choir College. Since her graduation, she has served as organist at the 
Milner Memorial Presbyterian Church and at the First United Methodist 
Church of Charlotte. The Stephensons have five children. 

Mr. and Mrs. Stephenson have led the United Methodist churches 
along Highway 16 in several music workshops. They were received well 
by all who participated. 

49 



1972 



Rock Spring Campground Added to 
National Register of Historic Places 

The Rock Spring Campground is listed on the National Register of 
Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. A certifi- 
cate was presented to Bishop Earl G. Hunt, Jr., by H.G. Jones, Director of 
the State of North Carolina Department of Archives and History. 

The date of the honor was September 22, 1972. 

The National Register, authorized by the United States Congress in 
the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, is a list of properties "significant 
in American history, architecture, archeology and culture," most of which 
remain in private ownership but deserve to be preserved by their owners 
as a part of the cultural heritage of the nation. 

Rev. Joseph W. Losley of Canton, Chairman of the Historical Soci- 
ety for the Western North Carolina United Methodist Conference, said, 
"For religious properties to be entered on the National Register is rare. 
Only when such properties are of primary historical importance are they 
included in the register." 

Rev. G.W. Bumgarner of Winston Salem, historian for the United 
Methodist Conference, pointed out that "the Rock Spring Campground 
dates back to the beginning of the campmeeting era in the latter part of 
the 18th century, when in 1794 the Rev. Daniel Asbury held the first 
campmeeting under Methodist auspices in North Carolina." 

Jones, in a letter accompanying the Certificate of Registration said, 
"The National Register has been called a roll call of the tangible remind- 
ers of the history of the United States; it is therefore a pleasure for the 
Department of Archives and History to participate in this program and 
thereby make our nation aware of North Carolina's rich cultural heri- 
tage. We appreciate your efforts and your cooperation in preserving the 
best of our past for posterity." 



50 



fr .. '•-■• tl :'■ '-.'■■..■■ 

r 

ENTRIES IN ME WTIONJU^l^W,,, "'^ "^ «K^ 2* 

STATE I^W.B WWHft;. 
Date Entered 5£P 8 * 1972 ;i.> Jj ? 






Rock 6prin 9> Cw? Meeting arfl W d Wneelnton vicinity 



i, . 5 i: "V Si. *.*.!- 



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$ « 

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Hon, gam j. Ervin, Jr. 

Hon. B. Everett Jordan V ••-'* /«, :. 

Hon. Charies R. Jonas *' ;I , ,.,:. * \ 

:" -a" • ••' V' ' 



51 



tim\t-1itV>}U UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT Or THE INTERIOR 
{Julf IM9) ■?•: "" NiTlOHAL PAD* SERVICE 



North CE.roli.na 



^wivafNATIONAt REGISTB 
'^ ; • INVENTO,— 







-J 



Lincoln 



s ..- (Type oil entries - Cofnp/ofo opp/ieJMo secfronsj 



FOR MPS USE ONLY 



|i..nav ; JJv 
I " "1 ■ In* 



Rock Safings Caen M'Settng Ground 



"NOO* JUIDB.C 



pL LOCATION 



* 



tTRffttlftRCNUMfltRt 

Kelt Sida of SR l373r-0.5 wiles north of intersnetien with Highway 16 



CITY OH TOW* 

Lillfcolntoft yiciitltr.. (Ninth , CQn.Tressional District. The Hon. C. Ri Jonas 



Tnrr«- 



COOC COCIMTY 



Korth C arolina 



a. XLAS^ifjCAtiON ■;. 



JR. 



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Lincoln 



109 



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. CATEGORY 
- fCMcfc OneJ 



OWNERSHIP 



STATUS 



ACCESSIBLE 
TO THE PUBLIC 



U 

r- 



O OlllrUl □ Building 

S3 <"• • ' ■ D Sifuchi*. 
« i a *q o»|.« 



O Pbdlie 

53 finals 
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Public Acquitment 
Q tn P.ectil 

fH gtlng Contliftfed 



3 Oceuplad 
n Unoccupied 
n PrttllYOtlcn Iverli 
In preglesl 



□ Rtltrlttcfl 
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PHfcjBjItyBB (CJitcJt On* or Mart it Appr*t>rlat»} 



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CtWHttVt MAMKl 

Western Korth Carolina Onitad tethodist Church c/o Bishop E. G. Hunt,Jr 



LU 
LU 



ITtllf two HUMOIBl 



3l6 Cole BciildinR, ,20? Hatrthorne Lane 



IYV OR TOVrNl 

Charlotte 



North Carolina 



37 



t5.f.tocAtioN 67;LEGAut)E5CR|PTiON"" : ; .. -. ■■■:<■■ ,,■■: ,.■ ^: < -■> .' ■ •-■ry ■"■ -ff;^ .■„-,?■ ■■/.,- ■.■; - ■■.■;,, 



COURTHOUSE, REGISTRY OF OBCDS. ETCi 

Lincoln County Courthouse). 



ITRCtT AnO NUMBIRi 



CITY OR TQWHi 

Ldncolnton 



xf^jj-^ 



STATE 

North Carolina 



37 



lA.^RSPResWATlONIN EXISTING,5LlgyEYS : u; V > <. J., '.':: 9?' ; ;. "KW ' " ': • ' Ai 



TITU* OP JURVEYi 



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ICITY CH TOVJ* 



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52 



|7. DESCRIPTION 



iCtitck One) 
□ D.tgiioi&:cd 



□ Unlliiid 



iCha.lt 0«.» 
D Allmtd Xj UooltcroJ 



fCJtgcJc OneJ 



QCiCKloe THE PfilltNt -ID ORIGIN 



. (II luwanj PMViiCAl. *PP[1RJKCIl 



Roc 1 : Springs Camp Ground, a wall-known Methodist August camp meeting 

complex located in a wooded plot near Rock Spring, consists of 288 numbered 

woody., "tents" pl_cad in tvro and a partial third concentric square rows an~ 

closing a large grove approximately two hundred and fifty feet wide, In the 

center of the oak-planted square is the "arbor/ 1 a roofed shelter with open 

sides under which tlie camp meetings take place, An alley creaks the squares 

at each corner and in the center of each side. Wooden privies, numbered to j 

correspond to the tents, stand in rows several hundred yards behind the tepts 

The sprir.g is located a short distance from the grova , 

c ■- ;.-V 

The arbor, which was constructed for the . camp meeting of 1632, probably 
predates all existing tents. The focus of camp activity, it is a rectangular 
structure with a deep hip roof featuring a ventilation oap at the apex. Hamji- 
hewn martise-and-tenon, roof timbers, which are exposed, rest on inner and 
outer rows of upright posts braced with plain brackets. ; The roof, origina.llV v> 
coverad with boards, was shingled in the mid-nineteenth century, and received 
its present standing-seam tin roof in the late I86O3, The camp bell is loca 
ted in the west end of the ventilation cap, Insida thaj arbor, at tha weal; 
end is a raised platform containing a pine pulpit with, pins slat choir soatiig _ 
occupying the roar portion of the platform, A, large, open area separates the 
pulpit platform from the congregation seating which consists of three sactlois 
of pine slat paws, capable of seating 1,000, divided by two side aisles. Tns 
mourner's bench (also known as the seeker's bench or vya "anxious seat") is 
placed before tha pulpit. The hard clay ground is covered with atraw, . . " 

C 

The frame tents, each one designed to house a single family, are nuaberdd n 
from one to 286, and vary greatly in age and condition^ The tents are built 
as row houses, sharing party walls. Each tent is a ons^story frame gtru,qtur< 
nearly square in plan. Tha name "cents" indipates, the derivation of these 
structures free the earlier makeshift tents of plott), pine bark, and other 
materials. Iae3e portable tents were gradually replaced by permanent; ."tents 
Each tent conforms closely to a standard form although^ paying been constructeoy 1 
by an individual family, it exhibits minor variations! ' ... 

Tha typical tent has a gabled main block with a shad room in the rear, 
covered by an extension of the main roof or by a separate roof, Tha main 
facade is sheltered by a shed porch either bracketed out from tha facade or 
supported on plain posts. An open lean-to porch extends from tha rear of 
many tents. Flush sheathing covers the main facade of the typical tent, and 
tha sides and rear aru covered with weatherboards, Beneath the front eaves 
several weatherboards form ventilation louver3, and the siding beneath the 
side eaves is spaced loosely for the same reason. Tha main facade has a Bid. 
entrance with a vertically sheathed door, and beside the door is a long tenet 
bracketed out from the wall surface. The front porches of the tents form a 
continuous protected promenade said to be enjoyed partioularly by young camp 
goers in the evening. 



o 

11 «c 



53 



<J„I, ISi9| 



I North Garo- 



NATIONAL PA**. SckyiCS 

NATIONAL HEGISTES Or HISTORIC PLACES [«""•" 
IKVEUTGKY ■ NOTATION FOR!/. 



(Continuation Sheet} 



=oa n?s use orxv 



fbHTNY HUMeen 



[ywabar mil eot.'.oij 



The crude Interior of the typical tant features a, hard clay floor covered 
with stra-.-r or sawdust, unfinished valla, and en open loft, reached by a ship'g 
ladder stair vriuch ascends in the fra::t left corner of the aain block, which 
is a single room, A large platform elevated above the straw-covered dirt 
floor serves as a base for sleeping pallets. The stair well is surrounded 'oy 
a plain railing, The lift is only partially floored, and is protected at its 
outer edge by a simple railing. An opening in the rear nail of the main block, 
sometimes containing a vertically sheathed door, leads to the roar shod room. 
This room, furnished with built-in benches and shelves-and containir.g aa open 
pass-through shelf in the rear wall, serves, as the eating- area. '->. 



Tant No. 1 traditionally is believed to be the oldest standing tent. It 
is thought to be the sole tent remaining from the original huilding activity 
at Sock Springs, which occurred several years after the lots were laid out 
and sold in 1830. The structure is built, as were aii'O- the original per-- 
inanent tents, of squared saddle-notched logs, No icui'tar seals the' interstice 
The upper wall surfaces are sided. The vertically sheathed door In the front 
central entrance is hung on a wooden pegged hinge, J i'he other original tents, 
many said to have been burned during the Civil War, have bean replaced. 

Although the tants vary greatly in age and condition, the weathered./ 
patina of the wood complex gives it a homogenous appearance which belies tts 
accretive growth, No ornamentation distinguishes one tent from another, but 
the minor differences exhibited within the over-all standardization provide 
variety. Occasional tents are free-standing, placad'with the gable to the 
front. Some of the main facades are covered with large flush wood shingles, 
and smaller wooden shakes cover some parch and main roofs. On either side 
of the central facade entrance of tent number 6I4. is 'a; sash window covered by - 
louvared shutters, Number 69, the only painted tent, has a concrete floor. . 
Two adjoining tents in the first row, numbers 68 and 6° j. have garret-level'* 
porches (upper galleries) enclosed by simple. railing3 and supported by}. ;-„ 
plain postg. Number 1^7 is a gable -to-front structure with no eave overhang. 
The walls of tent number \$G are board-and-batten,' .' .;••,* - ■■ 

■ « j, -,\. ■■:<. 



'% 






v"U fil.ll* 



54 



u 






LJ 



SIGNIFICANCE 



— 



too (■£*>■"?* D 

G li,r Cwrtwr* 



{HUH. Q ** ,fc Cottljiy 

Q 1?:K Century 



Q \9tb Can.**, 



Q 20lk Cc-.i^jy 



I sis' (J/ AFP'IcabIa 



■*C*s Of Si-S^iifiC**CK fCiH«c* «a« o* J.'a»o -■ Appraf>rt«(u.J 



Q Agrieultut* 
G Afchita*l»M 
O AH 

G Csmaxc^ 

t | Coditnunif ationi 



f*~: education 

Q l«.«.lr, 
C tiroiemr? 



□ Politico! 

i) Ralieian/Phl. 

□ isiincff- 

□ SculplWf? 

Q ^octal/Hv*&a< 

CD Tfwipejjaiuja 



G Ulbo/1 PlQIWllAQ 

Q Oth«r r^pac'rrj 



ITAT6MENT Or tICNIFtCANCC 

The development a:" individual camp maeting gites is obscured within the 
spontaneous, simultaneous growth of the Great Revival Movement throughout 
the frontier araas of tha uniiad States in the early nineteenth century, 

The can? meetings fulfilled a need for fellowship in the lives of the 
settlers Who infiltrated the frontier areas, Western Virginia, North Carolina, 
j and South Carolina wera especially fertile breeding grounds for these reli- 
gious revivals. As recorded by a contemporary observer, the behavior of tha 
participants swept up by religious fervor ¥49 of tea quite strange, A con- 
temporary obsaxver of camp meeting conduct wrote, | T '. 

To soq those pr°ud young gentlemen, and young J.aoie3 dressed ln_. ". i 
thair silks, jewelry, and prunella,, 'from top to toe take the^.' ' « 
jerks would often excite ny risibilities, The first jerk or ■■-:-**" 
so ycu would see their fine bonnets, capa and combs fly and ao 
sudden would be tha jerking of the haad that their long loose 
hair would crack almost as loud as a Waggoner's whip. 

This Christian frontier crusade waa moat aotively carried by the Hetho 
dist Church, and in 1790, Daniel Asbury, a young Methodist circuit rider frop 
Fairfax County, Virginia (related by marriage to. the great Methodist bi.ahop, 
Francis Asbury) , was sent to North Carolina to form the Lincoln Circuit whic 
included Lincoln County and several adjoining counties, Herbert Aabury, the 
bishop's biographer, stated that in 179U, the members of Rehoboth Congrega- 
tion in Lincoln County, which wa3 organized by Daniel Asbury, held a camp 
moating in tha forest near the church which was so successful that it con- 
tinued for several days, resulting in more than three hundred converts, 
(According to Krs. Gabriel Signon, a campgoer and author of the "History and 
Traditions of Rock Springs Casxi Ground," this camp meeting moved to Robey's 
Canp Ground near Denver in Lincoln County three years after jls establishment 
Krs. Sigmon stated that the camp meating moved for the third and last time in 
1828, when the Third Qoarterly Conference of tha Lincoln Circuit designated 
Rock Springs as tha sita of a permanent camp meeting. The journal Of Bishop 
Asbury, who traveled continuously through North Carolina spreading the Metho • 
.uist gospel during the£3 years, provides verification for tha early history 
'of this carp meeting, -or the bishop mentioned a visit to "Daniel Asbury's 
Meeting house" in Rohobeth in 179U, a visit at the noma of Daniel Asbury in 
Lincoln County in 1799, and a stop at "Robey's" in '1 3 1 14 . 



55 



f oia. lO-SOOo 
(July 1919) 



UNITES STATES DEPARTMENT OF "1!= INTERIOR 
NATIONAL PARK SERYICc 

NATIOHAl. RCGISTE3 OF HISTORIC PLAC5S 
INVENTORY - NOMINATION FORM 

(Continuation Shed) 



N'orth Carolina 



COUNTY 

Lincoln 



for MPi use only 



CNTftt rJyMflSR 



f.Yudtwr All 9ilrl44) 

8. 

A deed of August 7, 1830, records that Joseph Hathias ijjp.dy deeded 1*0 
acres of land to the Rock Springs Car»p Ground trustees. for MtT^hodist ug8,.. 
The original handvirittsn account book that recorded the first sale of lots' to 
individual ovaiors of liay 15, 1830, is extant and indicates tost T,he site was 
divided into squares, each containing twenty.-twa IPtSv^Ths inner section of: 
lots—consisting of the east square j north square , jjffite .square , a*d south. _.. 
square — was sold In 1830, Lot number one, for example,, was sold to Philip. 
Whitener and Kapon Shelton for $1.25, with the remaining lots eol<}for similar 
prices. Savaral years passed, however, before parsansiit shelters were ereotec 
The arbor (or "harbour" as it is spelled in the origin*! record book), which 
was constructed in 1632 for $255, was built before any of the tents. The cane 
ground uas incorporated in 1851, and a self -perpetuating board of -trustees was 
established, 

Rock Springs Camp Ground is not only the earliest camp meeting organization 
in North Carolina and possibly one of the earliest -in -the country, but is s3.se 
one of the few camp meeting sites in the state which is Still active. The caajp" 
meeting ficcurs during the. first week in August each yaap, and -appears -to Julvb 
lost none of its vitality^ for new tapts are still being added. The Rockr- 
Springs Camp Ground complex is an embodiment of the communal- wligious spirit 
which is still in existence in the Piedmont and western areas of North Carolir ar, 

-ansd c 



■ %ti&l2 






!•'<! t|l.J»« 



56 



i. MAJOS SI5L|C-eSA?HICAL KEFERENCSS 



:art. a Methociist Saint: The Life o:' Bishop Asbury, New "fork- 
A. Knopf, 1927. "* * 



Assury, ijjr'ca 

Alfred A 
Carroll, Grady L. E. Francis Asb ury in North Carolina ." Nashville. Tennessee 

Tna Partatmoa Prass, no date. ' f l ~ 

Grabar, Paul Saff. The Romance of Ameri can Methodism, Greensboro: ' Tie Piad- 

acr.t ?-ss, 193T; " "" 
Johnson.. C-uicr. Griffis, "The Canp Meeting in Ante»3eJlua North Carolina " 

The garth Carolina Historical Review . V°l. JC, »0. 4 g, Aprd, 1?33. ', 
Lacoln Govir.ty Records, Lincoln County Courthouse, Lircolr.ton, North Carolina 
£i- "« ^' foe, A gis ter , - n ap fe , J Subgroup ; w .PaadsK , m i 

GEOGRAPHICAL CA i A '•' r ■'- ■, '■■'• ; - '-■ -■'-*.■> '.„, ^ . ■ \ ''■.-* ■ *■ iM^Jl^ 



L.*TlTUaf**NQ*LC<N(;i7Uas C00ROIN(>Tfl ~~ 

jy CMl THAN TFN *C»H "* ■ 



*U3£ ANO LONCITU9E COOSM\ULt 

. RiCTANfi^C LOCATING THE PROPERTY 



_at;tuoc 



jfecs V.ir.„to» Svcen^f 



LONGITUDE 



Ooji««i Minulfti l»i«nJ 



LATITUDE 



D, 3 5 'V 



HinUfi 

32' 



25' 



LOMCiTUOt 



UlJUII Uinvi«» ^acpnd. 



er 



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?HOXI«iTt ACREAGE Of NOMINtTEQ PROPERTY. SXgO% ACrSS 



L:1T l!.L »T*T£S A.N D COUNTIE1 FOR PROPERTIES OVERLAPPING ST*TE OR COUNTY OOUNO*RIE> 



rn 






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] CODE 



[ 



'u FCRM °3EPAfiED 3T>;.'ST' ■.i-,'>>:j^ -.-■■■ ,'.^,'.-',-a;.^^>»'Jmi!H«g 



NAME AK3 TITLE. 

Survay and Planning Unit Staff 



OBiiM:nio 



State tSapartcant of Archives and History 



..17 Fabruary..J97ii 



TȣET .K} NUMBERi 

1C9 Sasx. Jones Street 



C«TT OR TOWM: 

Ralaieh 



JT*Tt 

Worth Carolina 



1 1 <^H A T ION A'U fi EGI ST E R*"V'ER l>T#AT.<ft& 



12,. STATE LIAISON CFFlCc R'CfcftTIf |CA1 ■OK^'^'V 



As lh« des innate J StdtO Liaison Officer (oi ibe Nj- 
uanal Historic Presorvaiioa Act ot l&fru (Public 1-bw 
39-665). I hereby nominate thu property for inclusion 
in the National Register and certify thai it has been 
■vatualed .ccuiii:.-^ to it.c tnU'iu and procedures set 
forth by the National Park Service. The recommended 
level oi significance ot' this: nomination is; 

Nation*. Q Slate ffl Local Q 



I hereby certify that Uu» property la included in the 
Nationai Register. 



Chjs/, O/iVca of /trcfieoJogy jud Historic ^ ro * err* I . an 



XKtsa 



-rfJOLi"" 



H. C-. Jones 



/ 



T^io tlrector, State Department of 
Archives and History 

Dmc 1? February 1972 



Keeper 0/ 7*na Nillviat Register 



6' • » ij« • I 



57 






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(Cor.tiiiLS'.ioa Shcoj 



Lincoln 



FOR HPS USE ONLY 



WIS' NU*»C* 



9. ;.? ,;':', '.\. _ ;i 

Lincoln County Records, Stats Dapartaiarit of Archivas and History, Raleigh, 

Xortn Carolina, ( Subgrcvr, : Beeds), 
Sherrill, Vailiaai L r ;_,-.zls .-■' Lirxc.r. County jforth Carolina , \ Baltimore t 

Regional Publishing 0,3r.\;a.-.y, 1??7 , „ 1M r -«r~. - •' 

Sigacn, :u-s. Gabriel, "KiSw-'y ano &adi^i'onB'oi? , 4tock Springs Caiqp Ground," 

no publisher, no date, . _ . . ■ ■« .-a«U4.sa 



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59 



1973 

Trustees Make Plans 

May 6 - The trustees of Rock Spring Campground conducted their 
annual meeting. Present were Rev. Louis Murray, W.L. Sigmon, Loy 
McConnell, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Billy Holdsclaw and Walter Abernathy. 

Rev. Murray reported the campground had been designated as a 
National Historic Site. 

It was voted to give Mr. George Hoyle permission to grade behind 
his tent to improve looks and parking. W.L. Sigmon appointed to get 
area east of campground cleared for additional parking. 

It was agreed to eliminate free meals at the shack. Rev. Murray or 
W.L. Sigmon to take visiting minister, song leader, etc. out to meals and 
be reimbursed. 

Officers elected were: Mayor, W.L. Sigmon; Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill; 
Assistant Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill, Jr.; Secretary, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

James Brotherton from Webbs Chapel Church was elected as a trustee 
and appointed to the Building Committee. 

Voted that Walter Abernathy rent shack to Terry Brotherton for 
$700.00. 

B.S. Sherrill reported the savings account balance at $4,135.68 with 
$2,580.48 in a checking account. 



Caught Up in Enthusiasm 



July 10 - "There's a first time for everything." That is an old expres- 
sion with which we are all familiar. Frankly, I was quite surprised when 
I learned a few weeks ago that, as the minister serving the Rock Spring 
Charge, I would be involved in the campmeeting. The possibility of such 
a responsibility had never crossed my mind. What was my response to 
such a challenge? "Well, there's a first time for everything," I thought, 

60 



1973 



"so I'll make the best of it." 

Since arriving at Rock Spring Charge, I have been caught up in the 
enthusiasm that is very evident throughout this community. Ah, I'm 
looking forward to the Great Week! Even a month before the preaching, 
singing and visiting are to begin, I find myself exclaiming with the psalm- 
ist, "My cup runneth over!" 

It is my sincere hope and prayer that you are preparing yourself 
spiritually for the campmeeting. It is my conviction that we will grow in 
grace as a result of this week. I am looking forward to meeting you. We 
will "let our hair down," relax physically and grow spiritually! 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



Every Sunday Should Be Big Sunday 

July 20 - What's all this I hear about Big Sunday? That's a reference 
to the second Sunday of campmeeting, if I understand it correctly. Why 
in the world can't the first Sunday be a Big Sunday? 

Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald, who served the First Methodist Church in 
Lincolnton a few years ago, will be the preacher at the 1 1:00 a.m. service 
on the first Big Sunday. Friend, you're making a sad mistake if you don't 
pull yourself together and amble over to the arbor. He's great and you'll 
be glad you made the effort if you hear him. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



61 



1973 



Children to Present Music Program 

Yep, we're going to conclude our first Big Sunday with a worship 
service Sunday evening at 7:30. Rev. Larry Bumgarner will be the speaker. 
I'm looking forward to feeding my soul on the first Big Sunday - morn- 
ing and evening! Y'all come and you'll find yourself saying, "Thanks, I 
needed that!" Guarantee you! 

Something new is being added this year at Rock Spring. A group of 
about 80 youngsters will present a program of music on Saturday evening, 
August 11. It will begin at 10:00 p.m. 

This group of youngsters, from numerous Baptist churches in Char- 
lotte, is not just another run-of-the-mill bunch who try to sing. Infor- 
mation coming to me is that they're tremendous. Ten o'clock in the 
evening the Saturday before the second Big Sunday. Put it on your cal- 
endar, friends! 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



Rock Spring Campground 
Board of Trustees 



Mr. William Lee Sigmon, Chairman; Mr. Harvey A. Jonas, Jr., Secre- 
tary; Mr. B.S. Sherrill, Sr., Treasurer; Mr. Frank Howard, Mr. Dennis 
Dellinger, Mr. Walter Abernathy, Mr. Ted Broach, Mr. Loy McConnell, 
Mr. Billy Holdsclaw. 



62 



ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING SCHEDULE 
AUGUST 4 - 12, 1973 

CAMP STAFF 

The Reverend Roy L. Eubanks Camp Minister 

The Reverend Larry G. Bumgarner Guest Camp Minister 

The Reverend G. Lee Pollock Youth Minister 

Mrs. Carolyn Howard Children's Worker 

Mr. Ted Broach Lay Witness Director 

Mr. J. Clyde White Song Leader 

Mrs. Mary Alice Sigmon Pianist 



SATURDAY. AUGUST 4 
7:30 p.m. 



SUNDAY, AUGUST 5 



10:00 a.m. 


11:00 a.m. 


7:30 p.m. 


MONDAY, AUGUST 6 


7:30 p.m. 


TUESDAY. AUGUST 7 


9:00 a.m. 


11:00 a.m. 


4:00 p.m. 



7:30 p.m. 
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 1 

10:00 p.m. 

SUNDAY. AUGUST 12 
10:00 a.m. 

11:00 a.m. 



Old-time singing. Groups singing will include Sound of Gospel from 
Statesville, Singing Spirituals from Greensboro, Lankford Family from Mount 
Holly, Burke Quartet from Maiden, Costner Quartet from Stanley, Apostle 
Quartet from Charlotte, and Sigmon Trio from Mooresville. 

Sunday School 

Worship Service -The Rev. Roy L. Eubanks, Minister of the Rock Spring Charge 
Worship Service -The Rev. Larry G. Bumgarner, Minister of King United 
Methodist Parish, King, NC 

Worship Service -The Rev. Larry G. Bumgarner 

Children's Service - Mrs. Carolyn Howard, Bethel United Methodist Church, 

Denver, NC 

Lay Witness Sharing Group 

Y'outh Program - The Rev. G. Lee Pollock, Minister of Center United Methodist 

Church, Concord, NC 

Worship Service - The Rev. Larry G. Bumgarner 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule through 7:30 Worship) 

Program of music by "Sounds of Celebration" (composed of 80 members) of 

Woodlawn Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC. Mr. Jerry Evans, Director. 

Sunday School - Mr. Eli Houser, Principal, North Brook Elementary School 

No. 1, Vale, NC 

Worship Service - The Rev. Larry G. Bumgarner 



63 




The Reverend Larry G. Bumgarner, 
Guest Camp Minister 

Guest camp minister for 1973 is the Reverend Larry G. Bumgarner, 
pastor of the King United Methodist Parish of King, North Carolina. He 
was born in Hickory, North Carolina, and attended Hickory City Schools. 
He is a graduate of Lenoir Rhyne College and Duke Divinity School. 

From 1956-1959, Mr. Bumgarner served as pastor of Hildebran Meth- 
odist Church, Hildebran, North Carolina; Friendship Methodist Church, 
Greensboro, North Carolina, 1959-1963; Morganton Circuit, Morganton, 
North Carolina, 1963-1965; Johnstown United Methodist Church, 
Thomasville, North Carolina, 1965-1969; Park Avenue United Method- 
ist Church, Salisbury, North Carolina, 1969-1972; and he is beginning 
his second year as pastor of the King parish. 

Mr. Bumgarner, in addition to serving as pastor, has been a partici- 
pant in many religious activities. He was youth counselor (adult leader) 
at Camp Tekoa -Junior High and Lake Junaluska - Senior High. In 1964 
he attended the Youth Conference (adult leader) at Purdue University. 
He has served as District Director of Youth Work at the Marion and 
Thomasville Districts. He is a certified teacher for youth and youth lead- 
ers - Christian Workers Schools. He has served on the Conference Com- 
mission on Religion and Race - District Director of Religion and Race; 
also District Director of Stewardship and Dean of Thomasville District 
Christian Workers School. In 1968 he attended the Family Life Confer- 
ence in Chicago, Illinois, as District Delegate. Mr. Bumgarner partici- 
pated in Conference Work Mission (to build parsonage) in St. Croix, 
Virgin Islands, in 1970, and he participated in Continuing Education 

64 



1973 



on Parish Planning at Duke University in 1973. 

Community involvement of Mr. Bumgarner consists of having served 
as chaplain for the Volunteer Fire Department, Director of Voluntary 
Hospital Chaplaincy Program, Thomasville Ministerial Association; min- 
isterial representative, Davidson County Board of O.E.O.; member of 
Board of Directors, Vice President and President of Salisbury Breakfast 
Optimist Club; member of Board of Directors of Stokes County Mental 
Health Association; Vice President of King Area Recreation, community 
program for year round recreation. 

Mr. Bumgarner is married to the former Peggy Jonas of Vale, North 
Carolina. They have two children - Mike, age 16, and Suzy, age 13. 



The Reverend Roy L. Eubanks, 
Camp Minister 

The Reverend Roy L. Eubanks and family moved into the Rock Spring 
Charge parsonage on Wednesday, June 20, 1973. The new minister of 
the Charge grew up in Lockhart, South Carolina. He received his formal 
education in the Lockhart Public Schools, High Point College and the 
Duke Divinity School. 

Mrs. Eubanks, Sara, grew up in Concord, North Carolina. She re- 
ceived her education in the Concord Public Schools and Columbia Bible 
College, Columbia, South Carolina. 

Mr. and Mrs. Eubanks have two children. Steve is 13 years old, and 
Susan is 9 years old. 

The new minister of the Rock Spring Charge has served as pastor of 
Friendship Church, near Guilford College; the South Randolph Charge 
in Randolph County, Pisgah, located near Lincolnton; Tuckaseegee Road, 

65 



1973 



Charlotte (now called Covenant); and the Haw River Charge, near Greens- 
boro. He moved to Denver from Browns Summit, where one of the 
churches of the Haw River Charge is located. 




The Reverend G. Lee Pollock, 
Youth Minister 



The Reverend G. Pollock is in his fifth year of the pastorate at Cen- 
ter United Methodist Church in Concord, North Carolina. He served in 
his first appointment as associate minister at Grace United Methodist 
Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, from 1966 until 1969, at which 
time he was appointed as pastor to the Center Church. 

Mr. Pollock was born in Thomasville, North Carolina, in 1941. He 
attended the Thomasville City Schools and graduated from Thomasville 
High School. He graduated from Guilford College with an A.B. Degree 
in Business Administration in 1963. During the summer of 1961 he was 
a member of the Western North Carolina Youth Caravan to the Scandi- 
navian Countries. 

In 1963, Mr. Pollock entered Duke Divinity School and graduated 
three years later with a Master of Divinity degree. While at Duke, he was 
elected president of the student body in 1966. 

66 



1973 



Mr. Pollock is married to the former Mary Lois Kale. They have two 
children - Melanie, 6 years old, and Kristy, 3 years old. 



Mr. J. Clyde White, 
Song Leader 




For the 1973 Rock Spring Campmeeting, Mr. J. Clyde White of Char- 
lotte, North Carolina, will be the song leader. At the present time, he is 
serving as choir director of the Spencer Memorial United Methodist 
Church in Charlotte. 

Mr. White has a total of 47 years of service as director of church 
music in Charlotte churches. He was choir director at St. Paul Presbyte- 
rian from 1925 to 1939; Plaza Presbyterian, 1939 to 1966; Tuckaseegee 
Road United Methodist, 1966 to 1969; and Spencer Memorial United 
Methodist since 1969. 

A male chorus was organized by Mr. White in 1925. Since its organi- 
zation it has been continuously in service, with the exception of two 
years during World War II. 

Mr. White has led the singing at Balls Creek Campmeeting for 9 or 
10 sessions. 



67 



1973 



Trustees Consider New Tent 

August 9 - A meeting of campground trustees was held with all 
trustees present. 

A discussion was held to consider granting permission for building 
of a new tent on the southwest corner. The area was being used as a 
passageway. It was voted not to use the spaces or any additional empty 
spaces for new tents. 

D.S. Henry presented a complaint about tents being rented to single 
boys and girls. 

It was voted that upon information of any immoral conduct or public 
disturbance from actions at any tent that deputies issue a warning to the 
occupants. On a second complaint or on their information, the depu- 
ties are directed to order the tent vacated and padlocked for the remain- 
der of the campmeeting. 

Complaints were heard concerning trash around various tents. Mayor 
agreed to notify them of offending the rules and regulations concerning 
trash removal. 



Blazing Inferno Destroys Tents 

October 30 (Thursday) - The historic Rock Spring Campground 
was severely damaged by a wind-whipped whirlwind blaze of a suspi- 
cious and undetermined origin. 

Six fire departments from Lincoln and Catawba County converged 
on the scene to battle the blaze. However, substantial damage was done 
to the campgrounds, destroying about 99 of the estimated 230 wooden 
cabins at the facility. 

68 



1973 



But the same wind which made the fire run through the rows of 
wooden structures on the northern and eastern portions of the camp- 
grounds spared the historic arbor located in the middle of the religious 
facility. 

This was reportedly the third fire at the campgrounds that the arbor 
has survived. The other two fires were in the 19th century, one report- 
edly caused by Indians and the other by Union soldiers during the Civil 
War. 

The fire is believed to have started in a wooden tent in the north- 
west corner of the campgrounds. A strong wind blowing in a northeast- 
erly direction fanned the flames. The fire consumed the double row of 
wooden tents destroying most of them in the northern section and lev- 
eling those located on the eastern portion of the grounds. 

However, the wind kept the flames and burning embers horn hit- 
ting the arbor located in the center of the campground and slightly to 
the southeast of where the fire started. 

Sheriff Harven Crouse said that the blaze was a suspicious fire of 
undetermined origin and added that several persons would be questioned 
about the fire. Samples of burned debris at the fire scene have been col- 
lected for laboratory analysis, he revealed. Sheriff Crouse commented, 
"We cannot rule out any possibility at this time." 

There were unconfirmed reports that three youths were noticed run- 
ning from the campground at about the time the fire broke out. 

Mrs. Joe Barker, who lives with her husband in "the first house on 
the left" from the campmeeting site, was the first to spot the fire. She 
said about 10:40 a.m., as she looked toward Rock Spring, she saw "a 
column of black smoke. I called the fire department and then I called 
William Sigmon, one of the trustees." 

Deputy Bruce Kennerly had patrolled the campground area about 
30 minutes prior to when the fire was reported at 1 1:20 a.m., and found 

69 



1973 



everything in order. About a half-hour later, Sgt. Kennedy said he saw a 
column of smoke rising from the campground while he was patrolling 
N.C. 16 in the Denver area. 

The Sheriff's Department has had patrols in the campground area 
because of trouble with intruders and trespassers on the grounds when 
the facility is not being used for religious purposes. "We have made ar- 
rests of intruders at the campgrounds in the past," Sheriff Crouse said 
today. 

Sgt. Kennerly said that when he returned to the campgrounds, the 
fire was raging out of control. He said the wind-whipped blaze "was like 
a hurricane." 

A radio operator at the Lincoln County Sheriffs Department said 
that at the peak of the fire, smoke could be seen in Lincolnton, which is 
about 16 miles away. 

Only 8 or 10 tents were ablaze when firemen arrived. "When we got 
here the fire was going like crazy," said Arnold Douthit, a member of the 
Denver Volunteer Fire Department, which was first on the scene. "The 
biggest problem we had was the wind. Had the wind died down, we 
might have had a chance." 

About 20 pieces of fire-fighting equipment and numerous firemen 
fought the blaze. Bulldozers were used to clear firebreaks in the camp- 
ground by knocking down some buildings to stop the fire from spread- 
ing. Brush trucks were placed in the woods surrounding the campground 
to stop a possible forest fire. 

Intense heat from the blaze kept firemen at a distance for some time 
as they watered down the perimeter of the blaze area to keep the flames 
contained. A column of thick black smoke from the blaze boiled over 
1,000 feet into the sky. 

"This wasn't the worst fire I've ever seen," said one East Lincoln 
fireman, surveying the leveled buildings with their metal roofs twisted 

70 



1973 



on the ground. "The worst was in Dusseldorf, Germany, during World 
War II when the whole town was destroyed in a bombing raid. But this 
is second worst." 

Denver Fire Chief Lee Killian said his men were on the scene until 
10:15 p.m. extinguishing pockets of burning embers in the rubble, mak- 
ing sure the fire did not re-flare and surveying the damage. 

He gave the destroyed tent numbers as tents 128 to 169 and 25 to 
79. Four other tents, numbers unknown, were also destroyed when they 
were bulldozed to make firebreaks to keep the blaze contained, the Den- 
ver Fire Chief added. 

Even before 
the ashes of the 
burned tents 
had cooled, a 
number of the 
owners of the 
destroyed tents 
were talking of 
rebuilding in or- 
der to be ready 
for next year's 
campmeeting 
week. 




71 



Onlookers view the scene of a 

damaging fire which raged 

through the historic Rock Spring 

Campground 




Lee Killia)i hoses down what is left of one of the tents 



72 



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73 



1973 



Where Were You When You Heard About 
the Fire? 

Almost everyone remembers where they were when President John 
Kennedy was shot. I'll always remember sitting in a classroom under the 
direction of Mr. Ralph Sparrow at Rock Springs High School. 

The first fire at the campground is just as clear. I was on Hwy. 16 
coming from Charlotte about two miles south of Denver when I noticed 
the smoke. The closer I got to Denver, the more I was convinced it was 
the campground, which I headed for. 

A dozen or more tents on the outside row at the back side were 
burning. Johnny Sigmon and Joe Howard were present with Denver's 
only fire truck. Due to poor radio equipment, and it was probably top of 
the line for the time, they were unable to reach emergency headquarters 
in Lincolnton to request more equipment. 

I went back to Ronnie Lineberger's service station in Denver and 
called Lincolnton. I remember the person I was speaking with asking, 
"What do they need?" My reply was, "Every fire truck available in Lin- 
coln and surrounding counties." 

When I returned to the campground at least fifty tents were ablaze. 
It appeared no end was in sight. Area fire departments soon arrived but 
it appeared to be a lost cause, as at that time a tent was burning every 
couple of minutes. I didn't realize until that day what a wind a fire could 
create, which only fueled the out-of-control blaze. 

Had it not been for the arrival of bulldozers, which got ahead of the 
burning tents, creating breaks, I don't believe the fire would have ended 
until all tents were burned. 

Now, do you remember where you were when you received word of 
the fire at Rock Spring Campground that October morning of 1973? 

Terry Brotherton 



74 



1973 



Trustees Discuss Rebuilding 

November 4 (Sunday) - Trustees, with the exception of Dennis 
Dellinger, Ted Broach and B.S. Sherrill, attended this special meeting to 
discuss the burning of many tents on October 30. 

Mayor W.L. Sigmon opened the meeting. It was agreed that the first 
step was to clear rubbish from the grounds, cut burned trees and lay off 
lots for rebuilding. Lot sizes were designated as 14 feet wide. 

J.W. Sigmon offered to permit dumping of rubbish in a gully on his 
nearby farm. Jimmy Brotherton was instructed to contact Olen Painter 
to acquire front-end loaders and dump trucks. It was decided to regrade 
burned area as well as additional parking area. W.L. Sigmon was asked to 
have J.W. Sigmon to look into the possibility of using National Guard 
equipment. 

Period for rebuilding was discussed and it was agreed that tents 
should be rebuilt on lots by August of 1975 or lots forfeited and sold by 
trustees. In the meantime, owners would be allowed to sell their lots if 
they desired to not rebuild. It was agreed to advise all tent owners in 
writing. 

A discussion was held concerning some badly damaged tents. Bill 
Ballard was appointed to contact owners to see if they plan to rebuild or 
desire damaged tent be removed during cleanup. 

The matter of firewalls was discussed. It was agreed that owners be 
encouraged to construct such. 

It was agreed that campground would have to install new water and 
power lines. 



75 



ROCK SPRINGS CAMP GROUND 

Receipt No. JtStL. si _ Denver, N. C . _-£. __„19r?^-- 

Rtceived of ^^.£h£Z£c^S^k tSlSh 

¥- Dollars 

For Assessment on Tent No. for year 19 ana prior year 

t Tool Assessment S- . 



ELECTRIC LIGHTS ANLV ACCESSORIES 



Receipt No. 
Received of 




a 




_ Drops ($f% — Each $ . 

Toasters @ % Each $ 

..-.Fans @ I Each $_.„ 

Radios @ % Each t 

Refrigerator $ 

Total $ 

BOARD OF TRUSTEES 



Teat No. - 

Total Assessments \_f?\ & " 
Toral Electricity $ 




William Little and Flora Little at rear of their tent No. 216 



76 



Arbor Collections for 1973 



DAY 


AMOUNT 


Sat. 


$61.17 (Balance after paying singers) 


Sun. 


$409.31 


Mon. 


(No collection taken) 


Tue. 


$87.56 


Wed. 


$73.46 


Thu. 


$82.04 


Fri. 


$89.29 


Sat. 


$99.64 


Sun. 


$556.63 


TOTAL: 


$1,459.10 



NOTE: Interesting is the fact that arbor offerings dropped to a 10- 
year low in 1973, with only two services reaching one hundred dollars. 



77 



1974 

New Electrical Wiring Necessary 

March 10 - All trustees present except Rev. Roy Eubanks. 

Discussed problem of extra lot on north side. Agreed to renumber 
lots. All lots had been measured, staked and numbered. 

Loy McConnell stated preacher was sick, but he was well on way to 
filling preachers, song leaders, etc., for August 1974 meeting. This was 
result of work of preacher, Dennis Dellinger, Ted Broach and himself as 
Program and Worship Committee. 

Sherrill raised question of preparation of grounds for August meet- 
ing. The entire grounds, arbor and most tents have had wire stolen - 
rewiring will require full-time work for next months. Also what is to be 
done will depend on what sort of inspection we will have to comply 
with. We now have $2616.21 in checking and $4135.68 in savings, or 
total just over $6700.00, which would not be sufficient to place wiring 
underground. Balls Creek let Duke take theirs over, with individual meters 
electric hookup. There is $30.00, and electric rate and campground tax 
at Balls Creek - totals about $60.00 per year. 

Frank Howard to contact Hub Battle, electrical inspector, and deter- 
mine what is to be required. 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr., confirmed as member of board of trustees. 

Jas. Brotherton added to Grounds Committee. He is to talk with 
Larry Sherrill and see what he can do on wiring. 

Another special meeting - 4:00 p.m. March 24, 1974. 



78 



1974 



More Discussion on Rebuilding 

March 24 - All directors present except Ted Broach and B.S. Sherrill. 

Frank Howard stated Hub Battle, electrical inspector, looked on this 
as a temporary structure and that we could rebuild electrical setup as it 
was before fire. 

Jim Brotherton reported Duke Power was donating used poles, and 
that they could be erected with local help by Larry Sherrill and Tommy 
Little. Rev. Eubanks suggested Duke might do work for public relations. 

B.S. Sherrill stated would take two miles of #10 wire running from 
tent to tent. Needed to get Duke to put service in north side of camp- 
ground and split service. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., to talk with Duke and see what they will donate, 
whether will sell us wire, etc., and whether they will split service. To 
advise B.S. and Jas. Brotherton. 

Lots are laid off 14' x 26', with 8' maximum shed, and new tents are 
to be limited to this. 

Bill Sigmon raised question of new lot in NE corner beside Jas. 
Brotherton. Voted not to use this lot at this time. Bill reported 3 lots had 
been added in the resurvey. Agreed to offer those to public at auction. 
Agreed not to sell a 4th lot, which was known as preacher's lot and was 
used by lifesaving crew. Sale to be held May 4 and anyone who doesn't 
intend to rebuild could sell their lots at same time. Sale to be held at 4 
p.m. on May 4, with Rodney Sherrill to be auctioneer. Three lots are on 
north side, second row. H.A. Jonas, Jr., to put ad in paper. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., reported state highway was to pave road on north 
side and needed all trustees to sign R/W. 

Rev. Eubanks reported Bernard Fitzgerald is to be preacher and Harold 
Redman to be song leader. 



79 



1974 



Duke Power Rep Meets with Trustees 

April 7 - Present: Wm. L. Sigmon, Loy McConnell, Frank Howard, 
Jas. Brotherton, Bill Holdsclaw, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Rev. Eubanks, H.A.Jonas, 

Jr. 

J.W. Howard, rep of Duke Power, met with trustees and outlined 
plans for new service to north side of campground. Told trustees it would 
be necessary to remove some trees, etc. 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr., produced list of tent-holders. Letter to all was dis- 
cussed and was approved. Voted unanimously to require each tent-holder 
to furnish a switchbox for his tent. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks stated Bernard Fitzgerald had agreed to preach in 
August. He has Rev. and Mrs. Hubert Clinard to work as husband/wife 
team with youth and children - he believes this will be very productive, 
since they are very well qualified. 



80 



May 28, 1974 



TO TENT OWNERS, ROCK SPRINGS CAMP GROUND: 

On October 30, 1973, a disastrous fire burned many tents and 
damaged others on the campground. Only fast action by many local 
people and volunteer fire departments saved the arbor and remaining 
tents. 

Your trustees have had numerous meetings on the many problems 
created by the fire. The grounds have been cleared and surveyed and 
tent lots laid off with iron stakes and numbered. Rebuilding of power 
and water lines, destroyed by the fire, are being pushed to be ready 
for Camp Meeting in August. With the help of many volunteers and 
labor at nominal cost, good progress is being made. However, all 
this is expensive. Donations of labor, materials and cash are needed. 

Because of the large expenses for replacing wire and water lines, 
clearing the grounds, and other autlay because of the fire, the 
Trustees fixed tent tax for the 1974 session at $15.00, plus electrical 
charge based on use as in the past. 

It is felt that tents must be rebuilt soon to preserve Camp 
Meeting as a viable, growing Christian force in this section. There- 
fore, the Trustees have voted unanimously to require that all burned 
tents be rebuilt and all damaged tents be repaired by the opening of 
Camp Meeting in August of 1975. Lots which are not built on by that 
time will be declared forfeited -to the Trustees and will be sold at 
public auction at the close of Amp Meeting in August 1975. We urge 
you to cooperate and rebuild within this period. 

For your information, tent lots have been staked and numbered, 
being 14 feet by 26 feet in size, with a maximum shed extension front 
and back of 8 feet. All new tents must be held to these limits. 
The Trustees voted to require each old or new tent to be equipped 
with an electrical switch box by the August 1974 meeting. It is the 
responsibility of each tent owner to furnish and install his own 
Box. 

We earnestly solicit your donations cooperation and prayers 
for Rock Spring Camp Ground. 



William Lee Sigmon, Mayor 
FOR THE TRUSTEES 

81 



1974 



New Lots Sold 

May 4 - Following present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Frank 
Howard, Loy McConnell, Bill Holdsclaw, Roy Eubanks and H.A. Jonas, 
Jr. 

Preceding meeting, three lots sold at auction: x renumbered 144 to 
Rita Hicks for $850; y renumbered 159 to Bill Richard, $550; z renum- 
bered 160 to Preston Beal, $900. All paid except Beal paid $300, balance 
in 30 days. Proceeds to B.S. Sherrill. Prior to sale, announced subject to 
campground rules and regs., including 1974 tax, and if tent not built by 
campmeeting 1975, lot forfeited. 

This being the annual meeting, the following officers were elected: 
Mayor - Wm. Lee Sigmon 
Treasurer - B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 
Secretary - H.A. Jonas, Jr. 
Following committees appointed: 
Grounds - Wm. Lee Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, D.B. Dellinger, Jas. 
Brotherton 

Building - Frank Howard, Loy McConnell, Bill Holdsclaw 
Shack - Walter Abernethy and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 
Programs and Worship - Ted Broach, D.B. Dellinger, Loy McConnell 
and Roy Eubanks 

Shack Committee to advertise for sealed bids this year. Renter to 
keep area clean, sell no water guns or nuisance creators, and to be closed 
during service hours (7:30 - 8:30 p.m. daily and 11-12 on Sunday). Next 
meeting 4 p.m. on May 19. 



82 



1974 



Shack Rental Contract Awarded 

May 19 - Present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, Frank Howard, B.S. Sherrill, Sr. 
and Jr., Jas. Brotherton, Bill Holdsclaw, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Secretary reported shack was advertised for bids in Lincoln Times - 
News, and only one received. That was opened and was from Terry Broth- 
erton in the amount of $710.00, and was awarded to him at that price. 

Jas. Brotherton reported on contacts with Highway Dept. about re- 
maining trees for new power line. B.S. Sherrill reported he was having 
difficulty getting wire for rebuilding lines. 

Tent tax for 1974 session was discussed and fixed at $15.00 plus 
electrical charge based on use as in past. 

Next meeting set for 4 p.m. Sunday, June 9. 



Repairs Continue to be Topic of Discussion 

June 9 - Trustees present: Jas. Brotherton, Bill Holdsclaw, Wm. Lee 
Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, Sr., B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Loy McConnell, H.A. Jonas, Jr., 
Walter Abernethy. 

Discussed necessity of patching water line and finishing wiring the 
campground. Wire is in short supply and may have to use insulated 3- 
wire for primary electrical system. Voted to get this 3-wire primary ser- 
vice. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., reported letters going out to each tent-holder whose 
address could be found. 

Wm. Lee Sigmon and Bill Holdsclaw to work on water line repairs. 



83 



1974 



Campmeeting Set for Meet 

The historic Rock Spring United Methodist Campmeeting, nearly 
recovered from a near-disastrous fire of October 1973, will hold its an- 
nual program August 3-11, according to the Rev. Roy Eubanks, pastor 
in charge. 

William Lee Sigmon of Denver, chairman of the campmeeting trust- 
ees, said all but about two dozen of the more than 150 tents destroyed 
in the fire will have been rebuilt when the meeting opens Sunday. He 
said the remainder will be rebuilt before the 1975 meeting. 

Sigmon said the rebuilding of the tents has been difficult for the 
Rock Spring Campmeeting residents. "Lumber is high," he said, "but a 
greater difficulty was in finding the tin for the roofs. It's very scarce." 
The tents use tin as covering for the roofs. 



84 



DENVER, NC 
AUGUST 3- 11, 1974 



CAMP STAFF 
Rev. Roy L. Eubanks, Camp Minister Mrs. Hubert Clinard, Children's Worker 

Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald, Guest Camp Minister Rev. Hubert Clinard, Youth Minister 

Mr. Ted Broach, Lay Witness Director Rev. Robert Carter, Song Leader 

Mrs. Mary Alice Sigmon, Pianist 



SATURDAY, AUGUST 3 
7:30 p.m. 



SUNDAY, AUGUST 4 
10:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 



7:30 p.m. 



MONDAY, AUGUST 5 
7:30 p.m. 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 6 

9:00 a.m. 

11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7 



THURSDAY, AUGUST 8 
FRIDAY, AUGUST 9 
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 



SUNDAY, AUGUST 1 1 
10:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 



Old-time singing. All are invited. We welcome all who will participate in this 
program. 



Sunday School 

Worship Service - The Rev. Roy L. Eubanks, Minister of the Rock Spring 

Charge 

Worship Service - The Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald, Minister of Wesley Memorial 

United Methodist Church, High Point, NC 



Worship Service - The Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald 



Children's Service - Mrs. Hubert Clinard 
Lay Witness Sharing Group 
Youth Program - The Rev. Hubert Clinard 
Worship Service - The Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald 



(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 
(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 
(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 
(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 



Sunday School - Mr. Doug Mayes, WBT-TV News Anchorman 
Worship Service - The Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald 



85 



1974 



First Tenter Arrived Four Weeks Early 




First Tenters - Mr. and Mrs. Lester Alexander Brotherton of Charlotte, in 

swing, were the first to occupy their tent for this year's Rock Spring 

Campmeeting. They moved in 4 weeks ago, well ahead of the official 

opening this Saturday. This marks Mr. Brotherton's 73rd year in tenting at 

the historic campground and the 65th year for his wife. Flanking the 

Brotherton's are their grandsons (left to right) Donnie Sanders, Tony 

Sanders, Mike Brotherton, Donald Brotherton. In rear (left to right) Ronnie 

Sanders, Mrs. Randy Sanders, Herschel Sanders. 



86 



Old Time Singing 









87 



1974 



Charlotte Observer Editorial 

The following editorial was published in the July 27, 1974, edition 
of the Charlotte Observer by Associate Editor, Jack Claiborne. 



Campmeetin' at Rock Spring, 
Tradition Renews its Call to Faith 

In the woods of Denver, NC, near Highway 16 near the Lincoln 
County-Catawba County line, hammers and saws have been ringing late 
in the evenings in recent weeks. Methodist families from Gaston, Lin- 
coln, Catawba, Iredell and Mecklenburg Counties have been hurrying 
to ready ancient Rock Spring Campground for another season of August 
meetings. 

Campmeetings are an enduring tradition in this part of the Caroli- 
nas. They persist alongside a diversified economy and a rising sophisti- 
cation among the people. They call whole families, rich and poor alike, 
home to a week of reunion and religion in primitive, back-to-nature, 
back-to-God settings. 

The families come, some from as far as the Great Lakes or the west 
coast, three and four hundred strong to take up residence in rude huts 
called tents. They bring food and a few creature comforts, like refrigera- 
tors, radios and portable TV sets, to keep them in touch with the mod- 
ern world, but their goal is to commune with each other and with the 
God they worship several times a day in an arbor. 

There are many old campgrounds in the Piedmont hills. Balls Creek 
in Catawba County and Pleasant Grove in Union County back in the 
mid-1800s. Hickory Grove in Mecklenburg was once a big meeting place. 
So was Harrison's near Pineville. But Rock Spring near Denver is the 
grandaddy of them all. It has housed campmeeting every August but 
two in the last 144 years. 

88 



1974 



Its founders, so-called "shouting Methodists," moved on from Rock 
Spring to establish similar campgrounds in parts of the Carolinas and 
the South. In the days of circuit-riding ministers, these intensive, week- 
long exposures to the ways of God and man helped to create the "Bible 
Belt" psychology and bring Methodism to the fore as a major religion. 

It is said that a campmeeting of several weeks duration at Harrison's 
in the 1840s resulted in the conversion of hundreds of families, many of 
them among the community's most prominent, and made Methodism 
a "respectable" religion in Mecklenburg County. 

The age and historic significance of Rock Spring has been recog- 
nized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The campground 
is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places as a treasure of the 
American past. 

But declining attendance at recent August meetings and a disas- 
trous fire at the campground last fall had cast doubt over the future of 
the Rock Spring tradition. About a third of the camp's buildings were 
burned last October by a spectacular blaze that could be seen for miles 
around Catawba and Lincoln counties. Many people felt the fire had 
destroyed the campground for good. 

The doubters failed to appreciate the strength of the campmeeting 
tradition, however, or to reckon with the effect of world and national 
events on man's hunger for spiritual experience. 

The Rev. Roy Eubanks, pastor of the Methodist Church at Denver 
and superintendent of Rock Spring Campground, said that after the fire 
there was never any doubt about rebuilding. Families were given two 
years in which to restore their crude tents, or relinquish any claim to 
them. Of the 92 that were destroyed, only about 20 are still unrepaired, 
he said. 

The Sigmons, the Sherrills, the Brothertons, the Calloways and other 
mainstays of the Rock Spring tradition have been busy rewiring the en- 

89 



1974 



tire camp, replacing outdoor privies and rebuilding the two-room shacks 
to include sleeping lofts and a few more modern conveniences, such as 
running water. 

By the time the week of Aug. 4 to 1 1 comes, he expects one of the 
camp's largest turnouts in recent years. The lure is simply too strong for 
many campmeeting veterans to resist. Having attended for 86 of his 87 
years, one man vowed that he could not stay away. 

"Some of the wealthiest people I know, men and women with promi- 
nent positions in their communities and members of big churches, will 
close their homes for a week, pack up a few belongings and bring their 
children and grandchildren to campmeeting," Eubanks said. 

Over the years, the level of religion preached at campmeeting wor- 
ship services has risen with the incomes and sophistication of the wor- 
shippers. The days of shouting fundamentalism have passed and given 
way to a basic appeal to man's need for faith and a reason for his life. 

Asked what he would preach if he were called upon to conduct a 
week of campmeeting services, Mr. Eubanks said he would stress God's 
intervention in man's life and His call upon man to make God a partner 
in all earthly endeavors. "Man and God working together for good in all 
things, something like that." 

This summer's sermons are likely to be just that sophisticated. The 
preacher for the Rock Spring meeting will be the Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald, 
former pastor of Charlotte's Providence Methodist Church, now minis- 
ter at High Point's Wesley Memorial Church. The Wesley church com- 
plex is so large and imposing that many Methodists refer to it as "Little 
Vatican." 

But the appeal of campmeetings is not simply the quality of the 
sermons. It is the friendships that are renewed, the traditions observed 
and the faith that is restored. In a time of world and national uncer- 
tainty, faith is likely to get strong emphasis this summer. 

90 



1974 



A prominent churchman recently remarked that the call from 
churches throughout his and other denominations has been for a re- 
vival of evangelical themes and worship services. With the world in 
upheaval, and government and institutions exposed as ineffectual, many 
people in today's society are looking for something more lasting in which 
to put their faith. 



Comments I Heard 

Wish I had written down the comments I've heard about Rock Spring 
Camp. Let me share a few with you - the bitter with the sweet: 

"I hope so-and-so invites us to his tent. I really enjoy campmeeting!" 

"More souls are lost than won there!" 

"That preacher really did a good job." 

"It's a circus!" 

"We want to get back to the original purpose of the campmeeting 
and stress the spiritual part of it." 

Let's do this! 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



From Whom Would You Look? 

If you were to go out to the Rock Spring Campmeeting, what would 
you hope to find? 

Would you go searching for adults or youngsters who would be do- 
ing things and saying things that are not Christ-like? Regrettably, I must 
confess you would not be long looking for such company. 

91 



1974 



Would you go looking for people who are simply enjoying good 
fellowship, devouring food as they do at no other time during the year, 
and watching people walk around the grounds? It would not take you 
long to find them. 

Would you go looking for someone to walk to the arbor with you 
through the mud and thunderstorms? Friend, you would not have to 
spend much time searching! 

Tis true, there are people at the old campground who are spiritually 
sick and are making no effort to be healed. They can sit for hours in 
front of their tents but have no desire to sit for one hour to hear their 
Maker's word proclaimed beautifully in song and sermon. Pray for them. 
They are critically ill. 

Ah, but thanks to God there are many who go to campmeeting seek- 
ing spiritual food and strength - and they are receiving both! They hun- 
ger so much to hear the Good News proclaimed they are willing to make 
their way to the arbor even as the thunder rumbles, the lightning flashes, 
the rains descend and the winds blow! 

You don't read much, if any, about these people in newspapers. They 
aren't disappointed, however, because they don't go to worship services 
seeking headlines or publicity. They go seeking the Lord God Almighty, 
their Maker, who dwells within them! 

Their goal is inner peace and eternal life and the God of our fathers 
who revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ and directs us through His 
Spirit, will give both! 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



92 



1974 



Campmeeting-Born Come Back 

Jim Michael cast a glance over his shoulder at the animated groups 
lost in conversation, the young swatting little rubber balls with a wooden 
paddle. 

He took in the rows of weathered windowless shanties, where teens 
wandered past trying to appear nonchalant about possibilities of social 
alliances. Light from open bulbs oozed through wide cracks between 
the unpainted slabs, casting golden streaks across dirt paths. 

Finally his eyes settled on the big open air tabernacle, called the 
arbor, where Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald was delivering the evening's ser- 
mon. 

Pondering the illogic of the question that had been put to him, 
Michael grinned and repeated it. "Why do I come here every year? Well," 
he drawled, "I always have." 

That seems to be as close as anyone can come to describing the 
magnetism that pulls them every August to Rock Spring Campgrounds 
for a week of "ol' time religion" in primitive back-to-nature surround- 
ings. 

They talk about the fellowship, the joys of the simple life, the cha- 
risma of the old traditions that makes this place unique, the easy friend- 
ships that are formed and renewed every year, about the relaxation and 
release from everyday worries. And, finally - almost as an afterthought - 
some of them get around to talking about the religious services. 

Succeeding generations of the same families come year after year, 
worshipping under the tin roof of the arbor. Among them are Quida and 
Bill Sigmon, who live just 2i/2 miles down the road from the camp- 
grounds. She's tented all but two of her 66 years, and her husband - 
being a couple of years older - has come a couple more times than she 
has. Mrs. Sigmon's mother, now 92, still comes. 

Sigmon, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Rock Spring Camp- 
ground, has had the responsibility of the grounds here for the past 40 

93 



1974 



years. 

Their tent, reputed to be next to the oldest still standing, is over 
100 years old. Nowadays, though still rustic, it's comfortably equipped 
with a tabletop stove, electric refrigerator, foam sleeping pads and a fau- 
cet that supplies water electrically pumped from Rock Spring. 

Mrs. Sigmon, impressed by the new structures that were built after 
last fall's fire, would like to tear theirs down and rebuild. But her hus- 
band feels honor-bound to hang on to the old one. 

"If you're wife of the chairman of the board, you don't get noth- 
ing," Mrs. Sigmon lamented jovially 

This is a vast change from conditions of earlier generations who 
brought live chickens in a coop and butchered them as needed, slept on 
straw mats and brought water from the spring in buckets. 

"We rural people never had a chance to go anywhere years ago, so 
this was our outing," Sigmon said. "It was planned between laying-by 
time (for the crops) and gathering time in the fall. They used to live in 
covered wagons and bring enough fodder and corn with them to feed 
the horses." 

Along with the de-emphasis on religion, there has been a shift to a 
more sophisticated brand of tenters. Instead of farmers, most of the men 
work during the daytime, but they still move out to their short-term 
home during campmeeting. Young folks too have become more mobile, 
taking off in groups for a movie or a cold drink. 

There's also the distracting tinge of commercialism, with the addi- 
tion of a concession stand outside the quadrangle of tents. Hot dogs and 
hamburgers go fast, along with bubble gum and wax candy. Late in the 
evening, a secondary popcorn and snow cone stand opens. 

Concessionaire Horace Goodrum estimated he's sold more than 500 
paddle balls in the first four days of the meet. In the old days, the trust- 
ees would allow nothing to be sold here. 

94 



1974 



"It's more like a homecoming now," said Walter Canipe, who, with 
his wife, had driven out for an afternoon's visit. 

Mrs. Christine Jones rested under the shed of the only original tent 
still standing. Only three families have owned the 144-year-old struc- 
ture now held by Mrs. Jones' son, Blair Abernethy. 

Inside, as is typical of all the tents, sheets or bedspreads hang from 
rods or lines to block the sleeping area from where the cooking and 
eating is done. In the old tradition, the sleeping space in Abernethy's 
tent is a long padded surface where everybody piles in together. 

Even without modern facilities, there's no shortage of good home- 
cooking. Homemade cakes and pies and garden vegetables are brought 
from home, and by late afternoon the tempting aroma of country ham 
begins to waft from the tents. There's an old-time open door hospitality 
seldom seen these days. 



95 




Some were laughing and some were sleeping 



Re\>. Roy Eubanks, camp minister, plays a 

double role at the center of campmeeting 

activities. As the preacher, he sets the 

spiritual tone and oversees the religious 

services. But as everyone's good friend, he 

finds time, too, to relax and enjoy the 

socializing. 



96 




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97 




98 




A reverent atmosphere reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving scene prevails as 

members of Salem United Methodist Church pause for grace before starting in on the 

heart); delicious food that characterizes each table. The diners, who all tent together, are 

members of the Jackson, Henkle and Hedgepeth families. 



Sweet treats and things to 

smoke made a trip - or 

sewral trips - to the 

concession stand a highlight 

of every day. The 

campmeeting booklet, 

almost lost amid the 

gumboils and candy; seems 

to symbolize the way that 

things of the spirit 

sometimes give place to 

everyday appetites. 




99 



1974 



Plans for Next Year Discussed 

August 11 - Present: Roy Eubanks, Wm. Lee Sigmon, Bill Holdsclaw, 
Frank Howard, Ted Broach, H.A. Jonas, Jr., Loy McConnell, B.S. Sherrill, 
Jr., Dennis Dellinger, Jim Brotherton. 

Discussed plans for next year: 

No playing under arbor. May have to station someone there. Writ- 
ten requests received for gravel walks, more lights outside, public toi- 
lets, woman on board of trustees, annual account of receipts and dis- 
bursements, enforce laws, fix parking, improve damage on low side. Idea 
suppressed that tent rent should be raised to solve problems. 

Thanks expressed to Bruce Kenley and Richard Sigmon for law en- 
forcement. 

Roy Eubanks spoke on need to eliminate alcohol on campground. 

Should provide for no tenting on campground by children without 
parents present and in control. 

Agreed to send out letter to all tent-holders with copy of rules and 
statement of receipts and disbursements. 

Discussed plans for minister and song leader for next year. Voted to 
try to get same back next year. 

Voted to hire reconstruction of preachers' tent. 

Roy Eubanks reported he had received sufficient contributions to 
buy new hymnals for next year. 

Discussed new lots: voted to lay off additional lots on 3rd row at 
$100.00 each. 



100 



Arbor Collections for 1974 



DAY 


AMOUNT 




Sat. 


$26.78 (Balance after paying singers) 


Sun. A.M. 


$281.82 




Sun. P.M. 


$181.60 




Mon. 


$113.61 




Tue. 


$156.05 




Wed. 


$142.06 




Thu. 


$124.57 




Fri. 


$140.36 




Sat. 


$225.78 




Sun. 


$816.30 




TOTAL: 


$2,208.93 




Special offerings 


for hymnals 


$65.00 (1st) 
$50.00 (2nd) 
$156.00 (3rd) 


TOTAL: 




$271.00 



101 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1974 



SAVINGS IN BANK: 



CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1974: 

The Charlotte Obse/ver $4.75 

The Lincoln Times (2) 13.93 

Olen Painter Grading Company (2) 1551.00 

Duke Power Company 364.82 

Commercial Printing Co. (letters) 13.00 

Jonas & Jonas (stamps) 20.00 

Mill-Power Supply Company (wire) 2437.82 

Rogers Sigmon (labor) 125.00 

Roy L. Eubanks 125.00 

Mary Alice Sigmon 100.00 

Sarah Clinard 100.00 

Hurbert Clinard 100.00 

Robert Carter 125.00 

Bernard Fitzgerald 200.00 

Claremont Whse. Building 66.45 

John L. Rosenboro (garbage) 175.00 

Thomas Little (lights) 75.00 

Rudy Sherrill (lights) 150.00 

Richard Sigmon (police) 350.00 

Ray Harwell (lights) 90.00 

Baucom Radio & Sound 150.00 

William L. Sigmon (labor) 20.00 

Withers Electric (2) 41.80 

H. & S. Lumber (ladder) 21.84 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (2) 200.00 

Dellinger's Supermarket (fertilizer) 108.00 

Johnson Piano Exchange 57.20 

Brawley Seed Co. 78.00 

Duke Power Co. 143.56 

Ronnie Dedmon (surveying) 382.00 

United Methodist Publishing House (hymnals) 258.04 

$7647.21 
DEPOSITS: 



$6996.88 



CASH IN BANK: 



$5444.88 



102 



1974 



Work Day 

August 24 (Saturday) - People were asked to bring their tractors, 
hoes, shovels, etc., to the Rock Spring Campground last Saturday. There 
were many who could have shown up but didn't. Ah, but a good crew 
did come with their sleeves rolled up and they got a whole heap done! 

If the Lord provides a few showers, you will be amazed at the beauty 
of the inside area. Many truckloads of the Lord's and Dwight Callaway's 
dirt were hauled in. The entire area was fertilized and grass was sown. 
We want this grass to have a good chance, and that's the reason you will 
notice poles blocking the entrances. Yes, there are still ways to get ve- 
hicles inside, but we ask you not to do this. It won't take much effort to 
walk from available parking spaces outside. 

One stretch of the road on the south side (outside road going around 
the grounds) was widened by several feet. This will be a one-way road 
next year. We will enter only from Sigmon Road. Many more parking 
spaces will be available. 

We did not get to the main area where we hope to add a parking 
area but this will be done before winter. 

Sincere appreciation is extended to all who gave so freely of their 
time, energy and equipment to making this work day a great success. 

If a worker went hungry at the campground, it was his fault. Our 
ladies really brought the crew in! Country ham, chicken, beans, taters 
(another way to say, that is, potatoes), cakes, pies - name it. Was afraid 
some of the fellows would eat too much, get drowsy and go home for a 
nap. Ah, but they hung in there! 

Thanks a whole heap, ladies. Job well done and we appreciate it. 

Rev. Roy Eubartks 



103 



Work Day, August 24, 1974 








104 



1975 

Preachers' Tent to be Rebuilt 

February 12 - Present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, Frank Howard, Jimmy 
Brotherton, Bill Holdsclaw, Dennis Dellinger, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., H.A.Jonas, 
Jr., Walter Abernethy. 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr., presented financial statement to date as attached, 
showing $5444.88 in hand with all bills paid, except one bill at issue 
with Duke Power Co. 

Letter from Mrs. Coy Burgin and others dated Dec. 4, 1974, was read 
and discussed at length. Board was reminded that in meeting on August 
11, 1974, we voted to sell new lots at $100 per lot. Only lots sold to date 
were lots auctioned off after fire. Agreed to give a lot on the third line to 
applicants in order they have applied, according to list held by Wm. Lee 
Sigmon, subject to all campground rules, taxes, etc., and on condition 
that tent be completed thereon by opening of campmeeting, following 
the bill of sale. 

Voted unanimously to rebuild the campground or preachers' tent 
at expense of campground for use of lifesaving crew, deputies, etc. 

Walter Abernethy reported Terry Brotherton offered $710 for shack 
this year, and would furnish 25 Porta-Johns during campmeeting rent- 
free. Stated Brooks Robinson also interested. Agreed to delay this to May 
meeting. 

W.L. Sigmon Resigns as Chairman 

May 4 - Following present: Wm. Lee Sigmon, Loy McConnell, B.S. 
Sherrill, Sr., B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Dennis Dellinger, Bill Holdsclaw, Frank 
Howard, Walter Abernethy, Jim Brotherton, H.A. Jonas, Jr., and Roy 
Eubanks. 

Discussed work done (parking area cleared to east), and work to be 
done - shaping up road and grading. 

105 



1975 



Wm. Lee Sigmon stated that he felt he should no longer serve as 
chairman - Jimmie Brotherton was elected Mayor. B.S. Sherrill, Jr., elected 
Treasurer and H.A. Jonas, Jr., elected Secretary. 

Voted to rent shack to Terry Brotherton for $710 plus he to furnish 
25 Porta-Johns without charge. It was feeling of the board that no one 
could come close to this offer. 

Roy Eubanks stated Ernest Fitzgerald, minister for this year, will be 
commuting from Winston-Salem and should be given travel expense. It 
was suggested that Program & Worship Committee make up schedule of 
pay to be adopted by board. 

Jimmie Brotherton indicated he was not willing to serve as chair- 
man - others better qualified with more experience. No one else nomi- 
nated. To consider vacancy in 30 days. 

In addition to B.S. Sherrill, Sr., who resigned previously, Wm. Lee 
Sigmon resigned as trustee. Agreed to meet again at 5 p.m. on June 1 to 
consider further matters, including one additional trustee and chairman. 



Honorary Trustees Designated 

June 1 - Present: Roy Eubanks, Jas. Brotherton, Bill Holdsclaw, Walter 
Abernethy, Frank Howard, Loy McConnell, H.A. Jonas, Jr., B.S. Sherrill, 
Jr., and Wm. Lee Sigmon. 

Bill Holdsclaw resigned as member of the board. 

Resignation of Bill Holdsclaw was accepted. By action of the board, 
Wm. Lee Sigmon and B.S. Sherrill, Sr., were designated Honorary Trust- 
ees. Two new trustees were elected to serve on Grounds Committee: Bill 
Ballard and Bobby Harris. 

Walter Abernethy reported Terry Brotherton had agreed to pay $710 

106 



1975 



for shack and furnish necessary Porta-Johns without charge. 

Jas. Brotherton authorized to get and install drain pipe under road 
on west side of grounds and to gravel road. He to ask State Hwy. to work 
up road. 

Unanimously resolved to reduce tent tax from $15.00 to $10.00 for 
this year. 

Since the trustees are unable to nominate a chairman, it was agreed 
to operate temporarily without one, but that all committees would func- 
tion to prepare for campmeeting. 

Next meeting 5 p.m. on June 29. 



Trustees to Make Presence Known 

June 29 - Present: Walter Abernethy, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Jas. Brother- 
ton, Loy McConnell, H.A. Jonas, Jr., and two new trustees, Bill Ballard 
and Bobby Harris. Two new trustees welcomed. 

Jas. Brotherton reported tile ready on-site to be installed by State 
Hwy., which is to also work on roads. He is authorized to get gravel as 
required and to work on water supply with Rogers Sigmon. 

B.S. Sherrill reported things in order for campmeeting. He to ar- 
range loudspeakers and to get work-comp insurance. 

Bill Ballard to clean arbor and get fire dept. to wash same. Also to 
prepare to erect bulletin board. 

Bobby Harris to have charge of posts blocking roadway. 

Loy McConnell to contact sheriff and first aid crew and to phone 
for piano. 

Walter Abernethy has arranged for Johnny Roseboro to haul gar- 
bage at cost of $200 and to get shack crew to collect and sack their gar- 
bage. 

107 



1975 



Everyone to do their best to prepare for campmeeting. Each trustee 
to make his presence known and try to keep order. 

Trustees to meet under arbor 5 p.m. August 3, 1975. 



Campground Ready for Opening 

The 146th session of historic Rock Spring Campmeeting will have a 
blend of the old and the new, of interdenominational religion, of Ameri- 
can tradition and a foreign touch. 

The campmeeting begins with a singing Saturday night at the camp- 
grounds off Highway 16 at Denver in eastern Lincoln County. Many 
families have been camping in the wooden tents for over a week, and 
some two weeks already. 

Last minute touches are being put on those tents burned in a tragic 
fire at the campground two years ago. Tent owners were given until the 
end of this year's session to nave the tent rebuilt or forfeit the lot to the 
trustees who govern the grounds. 

"All the tents have been rebuilt and quite a few new ones added. 
I'm not sure right now just how many more have been built," one of the 
trustees commented last week. 

At the end of last year's session, there were about 235 tents. A grow- 
ing interest in the Methodist campmeeting, which had its origin in 1830 
and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has brought re- 
ports of tents selling for as much as $2000.00. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks, pastor of the Rock Spring United Methodist 
Charge, who is in his third year as host minister at the campmeeting, 
said it looks like its going to be another good year. 

"We feel we have another great group of leaders for the services. 
Those who do not come planning to feed their souls will certainly cheat 

108 



1975 



themselves of the most important part of the camp," he said. 

Camp minister will be Rev. Ernest Fitzgerald of Centenary United 
Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, whose father, J.B. Fitzgerald, was 
pastor of the Rock Spring Charge from 1953-56. He will preach Sunday 
at 11 a.m. and each evening through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. 

Song leader will be a young Japanese minister converted from Bud- 
dhism, Keize Hirano of Central United Methodist Church, Mooresville. 
His wife, Ichi Hirano, will be pianist. 

Rev. J. Michael Leatherwood of Hills Chapel United Methodist 
Church, Lowesville, will lead youth services Tuesday through Saturday 
at 7 p.m. 

"The service will be anything but formal. We will be taking a look at 
ourselves and doing things of interest to the young people," Leather- 
wood said. 

Mrs. Eubanks, wife of the Rock Spring pastor, will lead the children's 
services Tuesday through Saturday at 9 a.m. 

Area ministers will be preaching at 1 1 each morning with a speaker 
for Friday to be announced. 

Tuesday, Rev. Leatherwood will preach; Wednesday, Rev. Hirano; 
Thursday, Rev. Gayle Ford of Denver; and Saturday, Rev. Harding Caldwell 
of Mountain View Baptist Church. 

Loy McConnell of Lincolnton, a member of the board of trustees, is 
in charge of the singing this Saturday night. Quartets, choirs and special 
groups usually participate in the event, which draws thousands of addi- 
tional visitors to the campgrounds. 

Rev. Fitzgerald will preach the closing service on traditional "Big 
Sunday," the second Sunday in August. In recent years, more people 
have been attending the first Sunday service, one of the changes of the 
times. 

With the changes in the physical campground is coming a change 

109 



1975 



in the makeup of the self-perpetuating board of trustees, the governing 
body of Rock Spring Campground. Bill Sigmon of Sherrills Ford, chair- 
man and member for many years, has resigned since last year's camp- 
meeting. Bill Holdsclaw of Terrell, who became a trustee four years ago, 
also resigned. No new chairman has yet been elected. 

Other trustees are B.S. Sherrill, Jr., of Cornelius, Treasurer; Harvey 
Jonas, Jr., of Lincolnton, Secretary; Dennis Dellinger of Lowesville, Walter 
Abernethy of Denver, Ted Broach of North Wilkesboro, Frank Howard of 
Denver and Loy McConnell of Lincolnton. The Rock Spring Charge pas- 
tor serves with the trustees. 



no 



ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 

Denver, NC 

AUGUST 2 - 10, 1975 

CAMP STAFF 

The Reverend Roy L. Eubanks Camp Minister 

The Reverend Ernest Fitzgerald Guest Camp Minister 

The Reverend Mike Leatherwood Youth Minister 

Mrs. Sara Eubanks Children's Worker 

The Reverend Koichi Hirano Song Leader 

Mrs. Yoko Hirano Pianist 



SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 
7:30 p.m. 

SUNDAY. AUGUST 3 
10:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 
7:30 p.m. 

MONDAY, AUGUST 4 
7:30 p.m. 

TUESDAY. AUGUST 5 

9:00 a.m. 

11:00 a.m. 

4:00 p.m. 

7:30 p.m. 

WEDNESDAY. AUGUST 6 

THURSDAY. AUGUST 7 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 9 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 10 
10:00 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 



Annual Song Service 



Sunday School 

Worship Service - The Rev. Roy L. Eubanks, Minister, Rock Spring Charge 
Worship Service - The Rev. The Reverend Ernest Fitzgerald, Minister of 
Centenarv United Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, NC 



Worship Service - The Rev. Ernest Fitzgerald 



Children's Hour - Mrs. Sara Eubanks 
Worship Service 

Youth Hour - The Rev. Mike Leatherwood 
Worship Service - The Rev. Ernest Fitzgerald 



(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

(Same as Tuesday's Schedule) 

Sunday School - Mr. Doug Mayes, WBTV 
Worship Service - The Rev. Ernest Fitzgerald 



111 



1975 



146th Campmeeting Now History 

Have you ever been critical of the Rock Spring Campmeeting? I have. 
Things happen out there every year that shake me up. Even though we 
plan to make an even greater effort to enforce the rules next year, I've 
got an idea everything won't work out exactly as most of us would pre- 
fer. Ah, but we will continue to work at making it a place where people 
can come and worship and enjoy Christian fellowship peacefully. 

Have you ever said anything good about the campmeeting? I have. 
Frankly, I was truly thrilled to see from 500-700 people at all evening 
services except two. Yes, and it was an inspiration to see a thousand on 
Big Sunday. Come to think of it, there must have been at least 800 at the 
11 a.m. service on "Little Sunday." 

We had around 70 children up to 12 years of age at the arbor each 
morning. Yeah, and didn't they sing beautifully on Saturday night? 

Now, isn't it a thrilling thing to know we had as many as 75 teenag- 
ers at the arbor in the afternoons? Yes, and many of them were at our 
evening services. Like I say, there are a lot of top-notch young people 
around. Let's support them every way we can. 

Regretfully, attendance at our morning services was not too good. 

Yeah, many things happened at the old campground that irked the 
socks off me but, on the other hand, many good things happened that 
thrilled my soul. So far as I am concerned, the good far outweighed the 
bad. I confess to you that I'm hooked and will be willing to put up with 
what rough spots I must in order to feed my soul through worship and 
Christian fellowship. Yes, and in order to see children and young people 
worked with - and hundreds of all ages - worshipping together and eat- 
ing and playing and praying and laughing and talking together. 

Know why all of this is done - how it came to be possible? You can 
find it in John 3:16. 

Rev. Roy L. Eubanks 



ill 



OLD TIMERS - Amy 

Howard (left) and 
LaDonna Sherrill are 
only 15 years old. But 

that doesn't mean 
they aren't old timers 

at the Rock Spring 
campmeetings. They 
have deep roots there. 

As infants their 

parents took them to 

the tree shaded arbor 

and spartan tents. 

They say they have 

returned every year 

since. 





The historic arbor is the center of activity 



113 



Arbor Collections for 1975 



DATE 


DAY 




AMOUNT 


8-2 


Sat. 




$39.10 (Balance after paying singers) 


8-3 


Sun. 


A.M. 


$434.05 


8-3 


Sun. 


P.M. 


$85.57 


8-4 


Mon. 




$58.56 


8-5 


Tue. 




--.-- (No offering taken) 


8-6 


Wed. 




$125.10 


8-7 


Thu. 




$135.88 


8-8 


Fri. 




$165.44 


8-9 


Sat. 




$330.86 


8-10 


Sun. 




$711.90 


TOTAL 






$2,086.16 



114 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1975 



CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1975: 

Jones Fish Camp 

Johnson Piano Exchange 

Duke Power Company 

R.L. Eubanks (hymnals) 

Smith Setzer & Sons 

Rudy Sherrill (lights & labor) 

J.W. Sigmon (building tent) 

J.W. Sigmon (sowing grass) 

J.W. Sigmon (mowing ground) 

Town of Cornelius (wire) 

Barkley's Mini Market (fertilizer) 

Radar Insurance 

Claremont Supplies 

Don Goodson (work at arbor) 

Barkely's Mini Market (fertilizer) 

Frank Howard (materials) 

R.L. Eubanks 

R.L. Eubanks (meals for workers) 

Kechi Hirand (song leader) 

Mrs. Yoka Hirand (pianist) 

Mike Leatherwood (youth leader) 

Mrs. Eubanks (children) 

Cindy Cloninger (pianist for children) 

Earnest Fitzgerald (minister) 

Robert Clinard (morning speaker) 

Hardin Caldwell (morning speaker) 

Bruce Kennedy (policemen) 

Baucom Radio & Sound 

Harold Harwell (labor) 

John L. Rosenboro (garbage) 

Robinson & Smith (pipe) 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (lights) 

Inez Sherrill (collecting tax) 

Stamps 

Harris Bros, (supplies) 

Earnhardt Grading 

BANK BALANCE: 
DEPOSITS: 

BALANCE END OF 1975 



$38.27 

57.20 

583.41 

70.71 

109.12 

100.00 

1051.15 

151.50 

80.00 

8.00 

93.20 

63.00 

68.64 

24.00 

52.00 

43.34 

125.00 

20.00 

100.00 

100.00 

75.00 

75.00 

25.00 

280.00 

15.00 

15.00 

500.00 

225.00 

50.00 

200.00 

118.15 

150.00 

50.00 

4.00 

44.72 

550.00 

$5,315.41 



BALANCE 



$5,444.88 

$6,026.83 

$11,471.71 

-$5,315.41 

$6,156.30 



115 



1975 



Lifesaving Crew May Move to Shack 

August 3 - Present: Roy Eubanks, Walter Abernethy, Bill Ballard, 
Bob Harris, Loy McConnell and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Discussed problems. All seems to be in order. 

Agreed to try to set up lifesaving crew in back room at shack - per- 
haps also have campground office there. Preacher to have use of preach- 
ers' tent. 

Agreed to discuss increasing present pay of $350 per season to depu- 
ties, who work at campground on their own time. 

Next special meeting Saturday at 5:30 to consider additional lots, 
etc. 



Preacher Gets Raise 

August 9 - Present: Bill Ballard, Bobby Harris, Walt Abernethy, Den- 
nis Dellinger, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Jas. Brotherton, Loy McConnell, Frank 
Howard, H.A. Jonas, Jr., Roy Eubanks. 

Roy Eubanks moved to raise preacher from $200 to $280 to cover 
travel each day and to pay 2 preachers $15 each for morning services. 
Motion carried. 

Moved, seconded and carried to pay officers $500 this year for work- 
ing campmeeting. 

Appointed Bobby Harris, Frank Howard and Loy McConnell com- 
mittee to determine lots still available and to whom to award. 

Next meeting 5 p.m. Sunday, September 7. 

Work day September 20 or 27 in case of rain, to be announced by 
minister. 

Voted unanimously to gravel roads in new parking area. 

Grounds & Building Committees to study increased parking area 

116 



1975 



and improvements to shack to be discussed at September 7 meeting. 

Bill Ballard and Frank Howard to study arbor and see what timbers 
need replacing. 



Arbor Repairs Discussed 



September 7 - Present: Loy McConnell, Jim Brotherton, Bill Ballard, 
B.S. Sherrill, Jr., H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Lot Committee reported: 3 lots beside Kirby Dellinger on NE under 
power line. One lot at Ray Harwell's is near road R/W. Four lots near 
road 222 - Pat Proctor, W.A. Abernethy want these, and Martha Edwards 
wants 4th near cedar tree on north side. Rev. Bryson and Faye Swanzy 
want this 243A. At end of tents on south side, 3rd row, Hamlet Ford 
243B, 243C Rodney Wilkinson, 243D R.A. Watts, Jr. Tent 111, Isabel 
Howard, has space on both sides - want to tear down and make two 
tents in spaces to be occupied by Gary McCorkle, Rt. 1 Denver. To be 
staked off work day. Sec. to notify new tent-holders. Agreed to hold up 
lots under power lines until clear with Duke Power Co. Not to change 
111 for time being. Agreed lots to be built on by campmeeting 1976 or 
revert to trustees. 

Bill Ballard reported all arbor posts should be cut off about 3' from 
ground, and concrete base poured. Would cost estimated $25 per post. 
Agreed to have this done, with Bill Ballard, Frank Howard and Jim 
Brotherton in charge. 

Discussed parking area and lights in same. To consider getting Duke 
to put up permanent lights there. To follow this up on work day. Trust- 
ees to meet work day, figure out parking areas needed and get big bull- 
dozers to do work. Trustees to meet at 9 a.m. B.S. Sherrill to arrange. 

117 



1975 



B.S. Sherrill reported receipts of $6,026.83, expenses of $4392.08, 
with $7280.34 balance now in hand. Will give written report later. 

Bill Ballard nominated and elected mayor of campground. 

Methodist Church, Hwy. 16, ministry is sponsoring New Life ser- 
vice on September 14. Rev. Roy Eubanks to be in charge. Trustees ap- 
proved this use of arbor, on condition that area is cleaned up afterwards. 
Bill Ballard to see that electricity is on. 

Moved, seconded and carried not to have morning service during 
the week this campmeeting. 

B.S. Sherrill reports: grading cost $550.00, seed $68.64, fertilizer 
$52.00, J.W. Sigmon $151.50 for sowing grass, Lee Beattie Killian gave 
seed. $6156.30 now in checking, $4736.15 in savings. 

Bob Harris to get dozen locks keyed alike for grounds. 



118 



1976 



Trustee Resigns 

February 15 - Trustees met at Jones Fish Camp. Present: Bill Ballard, 
James Brotherton, Dennis Dellinger, Walter Abernethy, Bob Harris, Roy 
Eubanks, Frank Howard, H.A. Jonas, Jr., B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., presented resignation of Ted Broach, which was ac- 
cepted with regret. Name of Jerry Sigmon was placed in nomination, 
and he was unanimously elected. 

Voted to permit Betty Cassinger and Pat Deaton to have lots to build 
on. 

Bill Ballard stated we needed 2 more lights on each side of camp- 
ground, roof of arbor needs attention, need signs to prohibit dumping, 
need new doors and jambs and painting on well house, possibly get 
MYF to clean under arbor, need professional plumber to check piping 
and turn water on, need to check roads and gravel, need cleanup day 
before campmeeting. 

Announced that annual meeting would be at 5 p.m. on Sunday, 
May 1, 1976. 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr., presented treasurer's report showing present bal- 
ances: checking, $9092.20 plus savings, $4977.42. Out of this we need 
to pay for trailer which was authorized at June 5 meeting. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., to see Rhyne Little about repairs to roof, to get esti- 
mate and report back to trustees. 



More Law Requested 



February 25 - Present: Roy Eubanks, Loy McConnell, Frank Howard, 
Jas. Brotherton, B.S. Sherrill, Dennis Dellinger, Bill Ballard, Bob Harris 
and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Discussed allocation of lots. There are two lots still available adja- 
cent the Bryson and Swanzy lot. 

119 



1976 



Same committees appointed as last year. 

Discussed law situation. Agreed that all should contact Sheriff Crouse 
and ask for more help, to start full weekend before 1st Sunday and be 
there for 3 weekends. Might ask County Commissioner to supplement 
pay for extra deputies, especially from 9 p.m. on. 

Discussed singing for campmeeting. 

Annual meeting May 2, 1976, at 5 p.m. 

Plan to set up work day after next meeting. 



Repairs Discussed 



May 2 - Present: Bill Ballard, Bob Harris, Loy McConnell, Frank 
Howard, Jimmie Brotherton, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Walter Abernethy, H.A. 
Jonas, Jr., Roy Eubanks. 

B.S. Sherrill presented statement of account, showing balance on 
hand $6156.30. 

Discussed idea of three trailers: 2 for bathrooms and 1 for storage. 
Idea to put in 2 septic tanks and wells and place trailers over tanks at 
each meeting. Committee to look into this: Bill Ballard, Bob Harris. 

Discussed painting shack. Voted unanimously to have this done this 
year. Walter Abernethy to have this done together with spring shed. 
Walter to check and see if anything needs to be torn off or repaired first, 
to fix back area for lifesaving crew. 

Jimmie Brotherton to see county about getting ditches pulled out 
and putting up congested area signs. 

Bill Ballard to arrange to have J. W. Sigmon or someone mow grounds 
now and again before campmeeting. 

Discussed renting shack and necessity for 20 Porta-Johns for 3 weeks. 

120 



1976 



To put ad in paper, to contact Walter Abernethy, phone 483-2886, to be 
let on work day June 5 at noon. 

Work day set for June 5 or following Saturday in case of rain. 

Roy Eubanks reported preacher Ralph Taylor, High Point. Moved to 
rent room at motel for him. Harold Redman song leader. 



Shack and Porta-Johns Discussed 

June 5 - Bill Ballard, Walter Abernethy, Frank Howard, Jimmy Broth- 
erton and H.A. Jonas, Jr., met at noon to lease shack. Terry Brotherton, 
Boyce Lynch and Ronnie Lineberger bid, with high bid of $1350.00 by 
Boyce Lynch accepted by trustees. On inquiry, Brotherton agreed to fur- 
nish Porta-Johns for 2 weeks and to service every other day for $30 each. 
Voted to rent 20 on this basis. Walt Abernethy to notify Brotherton. 

Bill Ballard reported 20 ft. aluminum trailer for storage available at 
cost of from $1300-1400. Voted and authorized this purchase. 

Work day had progressed well. Drain cleaned out, grass mowed and 
2 catch basins installed on west side of campground. 

State highway has pulled up ditches and will work road again be- 
fore August. 



121 



1976 



Old Campground Buzzes Again 

August - "You have to be born and raised into campmeetin/" said 
Mrs. Ouida Sigmon of Sherrills Ford, who has missed only two weeks of 
tentin' at Rock Spring in her 68 years. "As you get older, when the first 
week in August comes around, your feet begin to itch and you can't do 
a thing but pack up and head for Rock Spring." 

How right she is. 

Most of the more than 1,000 campers at this year's campmeeting 
have been coming to the campground for as long as they can remember 
to recapture the life of an earlier day when folks around Lincoln County 
wound down from the chores of a busy summer harvest and packed up 
their families for a week of rest and pleasure. 

"Back then people didn't go to the beach or to the mountains for a 
vacation. Why, we didn't know what a vacation was, but I guess for my 
mama and daddy, tentin' at Rock Spring was the closest they came to 
ever taking a vacation," Mrs. Sigmon said. "Now my husband and I 
couldn't let a year go by without coming here." 

"Things look the same around Rock Spring as they did years ago 
but, my, how they've changed," Mrs. Sigmon said. "When we started 
tentin' we cooked outside over a log fire. And we did one thing that was 
so dirty and nasty you couldn't think of doing it today. We brought a 
coop of about 12 chickens along. They'd stick their heads out through 
the wire for the children to feed them. " 

This year, a few portable toilets are scattered around the grounds for 
those campers too shy to sit inside their antiquated counterparts lest a 
neighbor walk by and peek through the cracks in the door. 

"We didn't know what the law was when I first came to 
campmeetin'," said Mrs. Anthea McCall, 76, of Cornelius, who has rented 
a tent on the fringe of the campground this year to pass the tentin' 
tradition along to her three great-grandchildren. "Now we can't do with- 
out the deputy sheriffs walking around to keep everyone under con- 

122 



1976 



trol." 

"I was reared in a real religious family. My father and mother brought 
us to campmeeting to go to the services and that, I suppose, is the real 
reason I keep coming back. My husband and I came after we were mar- 
ried. I brought my own children and my grandchildren. Now I'm here 
with my great-grandchildren and we go to services each day and each 
evening. There are special services for the children and they are learning 
that religion can be a pleasure," she said. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks says it isn't uncommon even for him to hear a 
local resident say he hasn't heard about Rock Spring campmeeting. 
"That's a sure sign of the changing community around Lake Norman," 
he laughs. 

As campmeeting has annually drawn families scattered as far away 
as California and Washington state who have lifelong ties to Rock Spring 
Campground, many new Lake Norman area families are getting the camp- 
meeting fever. 

One is WBTV newsman Doug Mayes, noted Methodist layman who 
has taught the Sunday School lesson at campmeeting a couple times 
since he and Mrs. Mayes moved to the Westport community. 

Rev. Eubanks said last week they have another good preacher for 
this year's campmeeting. 

"If he wasn't good, he wouldn't be coming," he said of Dr. Ralph 
Taylor of High Point. 

Dr. Taylor is a retired minister and former district superintendent of 
the Western North Carolina Conference. 

Dr. Taylor will preach each evening at 7:30. 

Rev. Bernard Fitzgerald, former pastor of First Church, Lincolnton, 
campmeeting preacher and son of a former Rock Spring charge minister, 
will deliver the sermon Sunday at 1 1 a.m. 

Song leader for the campmeeting is Harold Redmon, director of music 

123 



1976 



at Westport Baptist Church. Area choir members are invited to partici- 
pate. 

Rev. Ko Hirano of Mooresville will direct youth services Tuesday 
through Saturday at 4 p.m. 

Mrs. Roy Eubanks and Cindy Cloninger will be in charge of the 
children's services Tuesday through Saturday at 9 a.m. 

Jerry Campbell, active in First Baptist and a Gideon, will teach the 
Sunday School lesson at 10 a.m. on August 1. Eli Houser will teach on 
the last Sunday morning. 

Another change in campmeeting is the daytime attendance. "So 
many have jobs they have to go to now," is one reason Rev. Eubanks 
feels is responsible. Then there are families used to air conditioning in 
the hot summer months and go home through the day, to come back in 
the cool of the evening to visit and worship. Some women go home to ' 
do their canning. 

Because so few are there for morning services, none are set for 1 1 
a.m. during the week this year. 



124 




Moving In - The historic Rock Spring Campground is buzzing with activity as hundreds 

prepare for the annual session. Kirby Dellinger (left) lends a helping hand to Robert Sims 

as he unloads his picnic table near the Sims' tent. 




Overflow Crowd - The 147th annual session of Rock Spring Campmeeting officially got 

underway on Saturday night with a gospel singing featuring the Burke family, Travellers 

and Blackwelders. Crowds filled the historic arbor, with a seating capacity of over 1,000, 

and overflowed into a stately grove of oaks surrounding the arbor. 



125 




Raising the Dust 

Bill Ballard raises the dust as he and daughter Kathy clean the historic arbor at the Rock 

Spring Campground in preparation for the 147th annual session of services. 



126 




Rock Spring Tenter 

Mrs. Anthea McCall has been tentin' at the Rock Spring Campground in 

Lincoln Count}' during the first week in August for most of her 76 years. 

She comes to renew old acquaintances and to pass along the tradition of 

outdoor worship to the newest generation in her family. 



127 



1976 



Number 147 is History 



We had the best campmeeting we've had since I have been associ- 
ated with it. Our attendance at the evening services was the best we've 
had. There were no "slack" nights. 

Remember the severe storm we had on Saturday night? The thun- 
der was rumbling, the lightning was flashing, the wind was howling, 
and the rain was pouring. It all began at 6:30 p.m. It was a rough evening 
so we expected a very small congregation. Ah, but we were fooled - and 
amazed! As the worship hour drew nigh, people made a dash for the 
arbor and we ended up with a lot of people! The sight of people running 
through a storm to get to the Lord's house was a tremendous inspira- 
tion. 

Some of our people were skeptical of Dr. Ralph Taylor's ability to 
preach when they saw him and learned he was retired. Ah, but they 
were in for a great - and pleasant - surprise! 

There's no doubt about the fact the music contributed much to the 
success of our services. Harold Redmon did a truly outstanding job with 
the volunteer choir. Ramona Christopher, our pianist, did an excellent 
job. 

The trustees of the Rock Spring Campground receive plenty criti- 
cism but rarely a compliment. Most of us never stop to realize some of 
these men put in many hours of hard work in preparation for camp- 
meeting. This is volunteer, not paid, labor. If they were not willing to do 
this, we wouldn't have a campmeeting to attend. There is no possible 
way for the board of trustees to satisfy everyone. I appreciate the fact, 
however, we have men who are willing to labor, make decisions they 
feel is best for all concerned, and listen patiently to our gripes. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



128 



1976 



Publisher's Note 

Rev. Eubanks noted the criticism of trustees. Could he return today 
he would find those compliments he sought in 1976. That criticism in 
1976 was not against the trustees as individuals but the lack of improve- 
ments. It's obvious the funds weren't there to make renovations regard- 
less of how much they wanted to make them. 

As money has become available, it has been a continuous project of 
trustees to improve the grounds, thus eliminating criticism. It's hard to 
please everyone but over the past 30 years they've gotten close to the 
100% number. Rev. Roy would be proud. 



Work Day Held 

A work day was held at the campground Saturday, September 5th. 



129 



1976 



1976 Shack Prices 

In early 2002, while going through some old campmeeting records 
for this book I found the following shack price list, which I operated 
that year. 

Terry Brotherton 



Hamburgers 


.75 




Pop Matches .25 


Hot Dogs 


.65 




Stink Bombs .25 


Soft Drink 


.50 


.75 


Itching Powder .50 


Ice Cream Cone 


.40 


.75 


Monkey on a Stick 


French Fries 


.50 




.50 


Corn Dogs 


.50 




American Flag on a Stick 


Country Ham Sandwich 1.00 




.50 


Country Ham Biscuit 


.75 




Confederate Flag on a Stick 


Bar of Candy 


.25 




.50 


Cigs. 


.55 




Pirate Flag on a Stick 


1/2 Pint Milk 


.30 




.50 


Popcorn 


.50 




Bubble Gum .01 


Snowball 


.50 




Chinese Handcuffs .15 


Elephant Ear 


.75 




Hand Buzzer .50 


Funnel Cake 


.75 






Lemon Shake 


.75 






Paddle Balls 


.50 






Country Ham Plate 


3.00 






(with fries, slaw and roll) 






Cotton Candy 


.50 






Chewing Gum 


.15 






Balloons 


.01 


.05 .25 




Water Guns 


.50 







130 



1976 



Almost Jailed for Selling Ice Cream 

The year was 1976 and I was running the shack. I decided it was 
time to introduce soft-serve ice cream and a pre-mix milk shake to the 
Rock Spring Campground tenters. 

Machines in place, the tenters were buying soft-serve faster than 
the two machines could freeze the mix. 

Late one afternoon, an official from the N.C. Department of Agri- 
culture in Raleigh appeared. He told me I could not sell the products 
because the floor had sawdust and the building walls were not smooth. 
The local health department had no authority over soft-serve, as it was a 
dairy product due to the milk product mix used. 

I was issued an order to close the machines. I accepted the order in 
a very polite fashion and continued to serve pre-mix ice cream. My 
mother once said, "You don't believe cow horns will hook," and I guess 
she was accurate, especially in 1976. 

One day later, the state official appeared again, this time with an- 
other order to stop selling the pre-mix products, this time from a district 
office. Once again I said thank you and continued to sell the ice cream 
and milk shakes. 

The next day the gentleman surfaced for the third straight day, this 
time with an order from Raleigh to cease operations. 

I told the gentleman that it was time for us to have a little talk. I 
told him that a local service station operator last month had been tried 
for selling beer in downtown Denver, which was in a dry county, and 
only fined $50.00. It was my opinion that a Lincoln County jury wouldn't 
be any harsher on someone for selling ice cream and milk shakes at a 
church function, regardless of the sawdust floor. 

I told him the only way for him to stop the ice cream selling was to 
obtain a court order and have the sheriff's department serve it. I specu- 
lated that once that was accomplished, since it was Friday of the Big 
Week, the campmeeting would be over and the shack would be closed. 

131 



1976 



He looked at me and said, "Son, I wish I'd never have got involved 
in this." We shook hands, he departed, and was never seen during that 
campmeeting or future campmeetings when I had the shack. 

The soft-serve sold extremely well, but the machine was never able 
to meet the demand as ice cream sold faster than it could freeze the mix. 
The next year I went back to the old time hand-dipped ice cream. I did 
continue to use the pre-mix milk shake machine several more years but 
never again was I visited by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. 

Twenty years later I was at a function where Mr. Jim Graham, the 
N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture, was present. I shared my experience 
with him. He grinned, bit down on his ever-present cigar, and said from 
the corner of his mouth, "That's all right, young man, the important 
thing was to sell that good North Carolina produced dairy product and 
benefit our dairy farmers." What other response could one expect from 
a true politician like Jim Graham? 

Terry Brotherton 



132 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1976 



BALANCE IN BANK: 



$6156.30 



CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1976: 

Jones Fish Camp 

Harvey Jonas, Jr. (ads) 

E.M. Dellinger (painting shack) 

Ernest King 

Brady Printing Co. (tax books) 

Claremont Building Supply 

Rader Insurance 

Stamps 

Roy Eubanks (Jones Fish Camp) preachers 

J.L. McConnell (painting signs) 

Jimmy Brotherton (parts) 

Harris Brothers (materials) 

Denver Plumbing (hauling gravel) 

Roy Eubanks 

Bernard Fitzgerald 

Dr. Ralph Taylor 

Harold Redmon (song leader) 

Romona Christopher (pianist) 

Kim Hirano (youth leader) 

Sara Eubanks (children) 

Cindy Cloninger 

Mary A. Sigmon 

W.C Ballard (materials) 

J.W. Sigmon (groundwork and straw) 

Baucom Radio & Sound 

Harold Harwell (labor) 

John L. Rosenboro (garbage) 

Sheriff 

Terry Brotherton (toilets) 

Duke Power 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (labor) 

Inez K. Sherrill (collecting rent) 

Int. Furnishings Sales (damage on piano) 



S 46.20 

21.36 

110.00 

110.00 

66.09 

125.14 

63.00 

2.99 

17.83 

30.00 

16.51 

51.04 

138.50 

150.00 

25.00 

280.00 

125.00 

100.00 

100.00 

75.00 

25.00 

25.00 

36.82 

236.00 

290.00 

50.00 

250.00 

500.00 

600.00 

468.76 

150.00 

50.00 

35.00 

$4,470.24 



DEPOSITS: 

BALANCE END OF 1976 (checking account) 
SAVINGS ACCOUNT 



$7,306.14 
13,462.44 

-4.470.24 
$9,092.20 

$4,977.42 



133 



Arbor Collections for 1976 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


7-31 


Sat. 


$40.20 (Balance after paying singers) 


8-1 


Sun. a.m. 


$515.96 


8-1 


Sun. p.m. 


$120.73 


8-2 


Mon. 


$65.07 


8-3 


Tue. 


$143.78 


8-4 


Wed. 


$121.14 


8-5 


Thu. 


$136.14 


8-6 


Fri. 


$159.27 


8-7 


Sat. 


$108.23 


8-9 


Sun. 


$937.02 


TOTAI 




$2,347.54 



134 




UNITED CREDIT INSURANCE SERVICES. INC. 



MEMO 



February li , 1977 



Mr. Harvey A Jonaa , Jr. 

Secretary 

Rock Springs Camp Ground 

Linoolnton, North Carolina 2(1092 

Gentlemen : 

It In with regret that I submit my resignation ta the Board of 
Trustees of Rock Springs Camp Ground effective immediately. 

My Inability to attend the important Board meetings nakes it 
Impractical for me to continue as a Trustee, 

I have en,lo' r ed serving with each member and shall continue to 
oray that God contin-ifis to Bless the camp meetings to His 
Glorv. 



lTours in Christ, 
THB/ j t 



Ted H. Broach 



135 



1977 

Trustees Have Lots of Work Planned 

May 1 - Present: Bill Ballard, Bob Harris, Jas. Brotherton, Walter 
Abernethy, Dennis Dellinger, Loy McConnell, Frank Howard, H.A.Jonas, 
Jr., B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 

Dr. Mitch Faulkner (ex-Myers Park Methodist) will be preacher for 
meeting; Harold Redmon, song leader. Hirano will be youth worker. 
Preacher wants 4 groups instead of 2 to start song service Aug. 6, Satur- 
day night. Need 2 Sunday School teachers for congregation. Walter 
Abernethy to try to get Dot Sherrill. 

For renting shack, agreed to put notice in paper and advise known 
interested parties to get sealed bids to Walter Abernethy by 1 p.m. Satur- 
day, June 18. To be opened under arbor. 

Agreed to get someone to help B.S. Sherrill, Jr., with lights and plumb- 
ing. Jas. Brotherton to see Richard Armstrong for plumbing and R. Faye 
Carpenter for electrician. 

Bill Ballard and Bob Harris to oversee cleaning arbor. 

Harvey Jonas, Jr., to contact sheriff to have men available for 3 week- 
ends, beginning July 30. 

Walter Abernethy to see about 20 Porta-Johns and garbage man. 

Dennis Dellinger to arrange for Dumpster for meeting. 

Frank Howard to put screens and doors on shack. 

Bill Ballard will see JW. Sigmon to cut grass. 

Bob Harris to have 2 signs designating "No Dumping" and "Camp- 
ground Dump." 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., to contact Rhyne Little and have roof coated. 

Cleanup day to be July 23. 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr., to arrange PA. system. 

Bob Harris to see about piano. 

Present offices are reelected: Mayor, Bill Ballard; Treasurer, B.S. 
Sherrill, Jr.; Secretary, H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Next meeting 1 p.m. Saturday, June 18. 

136 



1977 



Agreed for Bill Ballard to try to get Howard Const. Co. to see into 
cutting off bottom of arbor posts and putting in concrete bases. 



Shack Rented 

June 18 - At 1 p.m. bids for shack opened by Walter Abernethy, Bill 
Ballard, Jas. Brotherton and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Terry Brotherton and Ronnie Lineberger, $1026.00; Boyce Lynch, 
$975.00. 

Trustees unanimously accepted the high bid, and Terry Brotherton 
was so advised. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., reported bid of Rhyne Little for repairing arbor roof 
of $15.00 per square, not to exceed $960.00. This compared to $576.00 
or $9.00 per square in 1971. Agreed to have this done as soon as pos- 
sible. 

Agreed to put up additional outside lights, with Jim Brotherton in 
charge. H.A. Jonas, Jr., to see if Duke will donate 8-10 poles. 

Walt Abernethy reported acquiring 20 Porta-Johns for $600.00. He 
has arranged for garbage. 

Bill Ballard reported Howard Const, is to start on repairing pillars to 
arbor in next few weeks. 



137 




A young fellow can find plenty to enjoy watching, and Tom Hicks wiggles his 

toes in the straw beside the huge support beam on the ancient arbor as he 

keeps track of the passing scene. 



138 



1977 



Arbor Improvements and Repairs 

The Howard Construction Company of Lincolnton had a crew at 
the campground July 1-7. 

Every column at the arbor was cut off a foot or so out of the ground 
and set back down on a concrete column. The wooden columns were 
rotting badly, so it was a much-needed repair. Bill Ballard was the job's 
foreman. 

The arbor roof was given a new coating of tar earlier in the summer. 

An example of the decayed columns is pictured (left) and the com- 
pleted improvements shown below. 




Repaired arbor columns 



139 



1977 



Anxious for Campmeeting 

For the past 76 summers, Georgiana Howard has been coming to 
Rock Spring Campground to enjoy a week of worship and fellowship. 

Her presence is as much a part of the campmeeting tradition as the 
historic arbor, nestled amid stately oaks, or the shack where youngsters 
flock for refreshments. 

Mrs. Howard, who will observe her 88th birthday in October, spent 
her first summer at the campground in 1901. Through the years, she has 
heeded the campmeeting call and only missed tenting when services 
were cancelled in 1948 due to the polio epidemic. 

It was at the campground where Mrs. Howard met and courted her 
husband, the late Seab Howard. 

"Campmeeting was a big social event then," she says with a smile. 
"In between religious services, all of us girls would try to see how many 
different boys we could walk around the campground with." 

She has fond memories of years spent in a small two-level tent with 
her husband and 1 1 children. One year she gave birth to twins in June 
and never missed a campmeeting service. 

"Many times I have baked 20 cakes and boiled hams for my family 
to eat during campmeeting week," said Mrs. Howard. 

She is no longer able to attend worship services or stand in her tent 
door shaking hands with passersby. Many visitors to the campground, 
however, make time throughout the week to stop by tent 113 and chat 
for a few minutes with Mrs. Howard. 

Another family with roots deep in the campmeeting tradition are 
Bill and Joyce Ballard of Rt. 3, Denver, and their 19-year-old daughter, 
Kathy. 

Mrs. Ballard grew up tenting with her family at Balls Creek Camp- 
ground in Catawba County. It was only natural for her to continue the 
tradition after her marriage. 

For the Ballards, campmeeting is a time to share in worship services 

140 



1977 



and renew old friendships. 

They are one of the first families to move in each year and don't 
mind the inconveniences of living the primitive life. 

"The first week at the campground before religious services begin is 
fun and fellowship," says Mrs. Ballard. "The highlight of the second 
week, of course, are the worship services and big gospel singing on Sat- 
urday night." 

According to Ballard, who is chairman of the board of trustees, they 
meet four times during the year to plan the meetings. In addition to the 
yearly cleanup day at the grounds, this year's project was sawing off the 
ancient decaying timber in the arbor and concreting them. 

Campmeeting - a week of worship and fellowship - and for many 
like the Ballards and Howards, a week they wouldn't dream of missing. 

"It's a tradition we were raised to," said Ouida Sigmon, 69, of Sherrills 
Ford in Catawba County. "This campmeeting is about the only thing 
country people have. I've been coming since I was born." 

Mrs. Sigmon and her husband Bill sat on a weathered bench outside 
their cabin, which everyone calls a tent. Mrs. Sigmon's mother and grand- 
mother tented in that same cabin. Her own daughter, son and three 
granddaughters sometimes stay there. 

The crowd may pass 12,000 when the campmeeting ends Sunday 
morning "if it ain't too hot," said Ray Harwell as he poured a Coke at a 
concession stand where he's worked 35 summers. 

"We love to come," said Karen Miller, 14 of Lincolnton, as she walked 
around the campground's central arbor in jeans. "We go to church and 
just have fun... and meet new guys." 



141 




142 




143 




(Left) A Week of Worship and Fun: 

Denver resident Joyce Ballard has been 

tenting at Rock Spring Campground for the 

past 25 years and says the inconveniences 

of the primitive life are well worth the 

pleasures of a week spent there in worship 

and fellowship. Her husband, Bill, serves as 

chairman of the board of trustees at the 

campground. 



(Below) Dinner inside a cabin at Rock 

Spring Camp. From left around the 

table are Joe Barker, Randy Taylor, 10; 

Arvell Young, Mrs. Pinkie Taylor, Mrs. 

Leslie Sherrill, Mrs. Smith Brotherton 

and Mrs. Joe Barker. 



Georgianna Howard 




144 




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£ 5 

Si U 

a 

d 

Si 



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a 



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cs 
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£ 



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145 



1977 



The Go-Co Dancer 

It was July 1977, and the mere mention of campmeeting in eastern 
Lincoln County meant a good time's a-comin'. 

To everyone except then Sheriff of Lincoln County, Harven Crouse. 
Crouse was the man in charge of keeping the peace at campmeeting and 
keeping the peace, he said, was no easy task. 

"I've already got 1 1 auxiliary deputies assigned to start working this 
weekend," he said in an interview with the Gastonia Gazette. "When the 
campmeeting starts, we'll probably have three or four regular deputies 
out there all the time and maybe a drug officer." 

"In the last few years things haven't been as bad as they once were," 
he said. "We don't want to take any chances, though; we'll be ready if 
something comes up." 

Crouse remembered the day when he was more apprehensive about 
campmeeting time. 

"It got so bad one time that we had to take a judge out there and 
leave him at the campground," he said. "We just picked them up, brought 
them to him and let him tell us whether to put them in jail or not." 

That was about 10 years ago, Crouse remembered, and it was about 
the same time of the go-go dancer. 

In Lincoln County law enforcement circles, the go-go dancer is al- 
most as famous as campmeeting. 

"She came down from Pennsylvania to dance at the meeting," Crouse 
said. "She didn't wear too many clothes and what she did wear came off 
when the tenters threw quarters at her." 

The result? 

One go-go dancer arrested on a disorderly conduct charge. 

"The judge put a fine on her and told her to leave," Crouse said. "I 
didn't care where she went, just as she got out of Lincoln County." 

During the time of the go-go dancer, Crouse said arrests at each 
campmeeting numbered as many as 50 during campmeeting weeks. "The 

146 



1977 



way the law was then, we could pick people up on a disorderly conduct 
charge but we can't do that any more, but that was always the charge we 
used." 

In 1976 five persons were arrested at Rock Spring. The charges? Pos- 
session of alcoholic beverages and drugs. 

Gastonia Gazette 

July 27, 1977 



Below is a drawing of the famed go-go dancer. The sketch appeared in the July 27, 1977, 

edition of the Gastonia Gazette. 




147 



1977 



Mrs. Roy M. Nixon did not agree with Sheriff Crouse's description 
of Rock Spring Campmeeting and responded with a letter to Crouse and 
the Gazette editors. It appeared in the Open Forum section Wednesday, 
August 3, 1977. Contents of her letter headlined, "Other Side of Rock 
Spring." 

Dear Editor: 

I have been alternately very sad and infuriated that your newspaper 
would print such a biased story on campmeeting carried in your Wednes- 
day, July 27 edition. 

To play up an incident from ten years ago in a negative story about 
campmeeting in general leaves the impression with those people who 
do not attend that this is what campmeeting is like. 

Rock Spring Campground is sanctioned by the Western North Caro- 
lina United Methodist Church, was begun in 1830 by Christians for the 
purpose of worshipping God, and that has been its main purpose through 
the years. The historic arbor in the center of the ground was built in the 
early 1830s and has stood strong since, having sheltered millions as they 
worshipped God. Rock Spring was recognized in an act of the General 
Assembly in 1851 and is included in the National Historical Archives. 

To pick a negative aspect of the campground and play it up in a 
story without facts horn the positive side seems to me a gross neglect of 
responsible journalism. 

If, in all the years Sheriff Harven Crouse has known about Rock 
Spring, his view expressed in Mrs. Palmer's story are his only opinion, 
then he needs to join all of you under the Rock Spring Campmeeting 
arbor a few times to broaden his view. 

Following is a copy of a letter I have written to Sheriff Crouse con- 
cerning the matter: 

Dear Sheriff Crouse: 

I was utterly appalled at the story in Wednesday's Gastonia Gazette 

148 



1977 



written by Jennie Palmer, seemingly from an interview with you con- 
cerning Rock Spring Campmeeting or about campmeeting in Lincoln 
County generally. 

Never in my wildest imagination would I suspect you to be involved 
in such a one-sided report grossly exaggerating a negative picture of a 
religious campground where millions of people have gathered over 145 
years for worship and fellowship with God and each other. 

This has got to be taken out of context and I would sincerely appre- 
ciate your taking the time to explain to me the circumstances surround- 
ing the information included in this story in a newspaper circulated 
into thousands of homes in our county and the surrounding area of the 
state. I just cannot believe my eyes! 

You better believe I talked at length yesterday with Gazette editor 
Bill Williams, whom I've known as a Christian for many years. He has 
been to Rock Spring and agreed he questioned letting the story be pub- 
lished. 

It is inconceivable to me, having grown up going to Rock Spring, 
that even the sheriff could be so narrow-minded about such an institu- 
tion as to allow himself to be quoted in such a way as to play up one 
incident from 10 years ago and ignore all the worship of God that has 
gone on under the arbor and around the grounds at Rock Spring. 

It makes me sad to think of the damage this one story could do 
when so much positive could have come from you, even through your 
law enforcement eyesight. It makes me sorry for all the support I have 
given you through the years. 

I invite you to stop by our tent during campmeeting if you don't 
have time to reply to this letter otherwise. 

The same invitation goes to the editors of the Gazette and to Jennie 
Palmer. 

Mrs. Roy M. Nixon 

149 



1977 



Staff Announced 

Dr. Mitchell Faulkner, who served the Myers Park United Methodist 
Church in Charlotte in recent years, will be guest preacher. Harold 
Redmon will be song leader. 

The Rev. Robbie Moore, a young dynamic Methodist minister who 
is presently serving at Crouse, will be youth worker. 

Sara Eubanks and Cindy Cloninger will work with the children. 

Gary Hunsucker will teach Sunday School on August 7, and Judge 
John Fridy on August 14. 



Arbor Collections for 1977 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-6 


Sat. 


$43.62 (Balance after paying singers) 


8-7 


Sun. A.M. 


$439.07 


8-7 


Sun. P.M. 


$141.58 


8-8 


Mon. 


$161.08 


8-9 


Tue. 


$254.68 


8-10 


Wed. 


$189.62 


8-11 


Thu. 


$133.86 


8-12 


Fri. 


$201.74 


8-13 


Sat. 


$176.95 


8-14 


Sun. 


$753.56 


TOTAL: 




$2,495.76 



150 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1977 



BEGINNING BALANCE: 

CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1977: 

Jones Fish Camp 

Trailer 

Rader Insurance 

Claremont Warehouse Building 

Harvey Jonas, Jr. (advertising) 

Mickey Hucks (electrical parts) 

Roy Eubanks 

Harold Redmon 

Dr. Mitchell Faulkner 

Leigh Ann Johnston (pianist) 

Romona Christopher 

Kenneth Moore 

Sara Eubanks 

Carolyn Howard 

King Office Supply 

Denver Plumbing 

Jones Fish Camp (preachers) 

Cindy Cloninger (pianist) 

Terry Brotherton (toilets) 

John I.. Rosenboro 

Baucom Radio & Sound 

Harold Harwell (labor) 

J.W. Sigmon (labor) 

Duke Power 

U.S. Post Office 

Withers Electric 

Sheriff's Department 

Claremont Warehouse Building 

Denver Electric Company 

Duke Power Company 

Inez Sherrill 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 

Howard Construction 

Claremont Warehouse Building 

Rike Roofing & Mfg. 

Robert L. Laney (signs) 

Hankel Concrete 

Dellinger Concrete 



DEPOSITS: 

BALANCE END OF 1977 
SAVINGS 



$9,092.00 



$76.74 

1.200.00 

63.00 

60.32 

7.52 

18.25 

200.00 

200.00 

375.00 

75.00 

125.00 

150.00 

125.00 

20.00 

9.05 

65.00 

20.42 

50.00 

600.00 

300.00 

200.00 

75.00 

50.00 

72.80 

2.99 

13.53 

500.00 

24.66 

260.46 

445.69 

150.00 

200.00 

989.79 

40.70 

810.00 

15.00 

40.48 

106.27 

7,737.67 

i7,057.00 



$16,149.00 

-7,737.00 

8,411.00 

$5,230.00 



151 



1978 

Jaycees Propose Sign 

March 14 - Trustees met at Jones Fish Camp. Present: Frank Howard, 
B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Roy Eubanks, Jerry Sigmon, Bill Ballard, H.A. Jonas, Jr., 
Jimmy Brotherton and Loy McConnell. 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr., presented treasurer's report, copy attached. 

Jaycees of Denver want to erect a star at campground, but need State 
Historical designation. General idea approved, but want to see what they 
propose to do. 

Annual meeting set for May 7 at 4 p.m. 

Agreed to try to get 8 poles donated for outside lights or buy them if 
necessary. 



Annual Meeting of Trustees 

May 7 - Present: Bill Ballard, Jimmy Brotherton, Roy Eubanks, H.A. 
Jonas, Jr. No quorum present. Meeting recessed to meet 4 p.m. May 21, 
1978. 



More Discussion on Sign 



May 21 - Recessed annual meeting at 4 p.m. Present: Bill Ballard, 
Loy McConnell, Jim Brotherton, B.S. Sherrill, Jr., Jerry Sigmon, H.A. Jonas, 
Jr., Walter Abernethy, Roy Eubanks, Loy McConnell. 

Matter of place for campground sign again discussed as Jaycee project. 
Trustees again approved idea, subject to final approval of design. Jerry 
Sigmon authorized to work with Jaycees. 

Offices elected: 

Mayor, Bill Ballard 

152 



1978 



Secretary, Harvey Jonas, Jr. 

Treasurer, B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 

Roy Eubanks reported minister and others arranged for August camp- 
meeting. 

B.S. Sherrill reported man coming to check on water system and 
rebuilding pump. Jim Brotherton to help with this. Authorized to hire 
Richard Armstrong. 

Cleanup day set for June 24. Shack to be advertised for sealed bids to 
be opened at noon on June 24. If no one interested, should get Carolina 
Coin Caterers to furnish machines. Consider Pumpkin Center VFD. 

Bill Ballard will have J.W. Sigmon to mow grounds. 

Jim Brotherton to get county to scrape road. 

Walt Abernethy to get garbage taken care of. 

Jerry Sigmon to get 8 poles for new outside lights, but might get 
them from B.S. Sherrill. 

Walt Abernethy to arrange for 20 Porta-Johns. 

Jerry Sigmon was put on Building Committee. 

Bob Hager awarded space for new tent on 3rd row on NW corner, on 
condition he builds this year. 

Bill Ballard to look for new bell for arbor, which has been stolen in 
past 2 weeks. 

Bill Ballard reported Bob Harris has resigned as trustee. 

Building Committee and Bill Ballard authorized to fix back of shack 
building, pour floor, fix window and door for use of lifesaving crew and 
offices. 

Agreed that Roy Eubanks authorized to rent preachers' tent for this 
campmeeting. 

B.S. Sherrill to arrange for PA. system. 

Loy McConnell to arrange for piano. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., to talk to sheriff about law enforcement. 

153 



1978 



Work Underway at Campground 

June 24 (Saturday) - Campmeeting is still more than a month away, 
but preparation has already begun at Rock Spring Campground in an- 
ticipation of the traditional annual event. 

Volunteers gathered Saturday at the campground site for a general 
cleanup session led by the camp minister, Rev. Roy Eubanks. 

"It takes a lot of work to get a place like this going," said Eubanks. 
"You got to come in and clean up the grounds and turn the water and 
power on. It's just a general cleanup." 

Rock Spring Campmeeting will be held August 6-13 this year, but 
people will start moving into their tents by the last week in July. 

"People move out of their $50,000 and $100,000 homes to come 
and live in a tent," said Eubanks, explaining the attraction of camp- 
meeting. "People have known this all their life. They're born into it, 
and they keep coming back." 

Kicking off campmeeting will be a song service August 5 featuring a 
number of gospel singing groups. 

Guest ministers this year are Dr. Wilson O. Weldon, superintendent 
of the Charlotte district of the United Methodist Church, and Dr. Jake 
Golden of the Waynesville district. 

The children's supervisor will be Mrs. Hugh Cosby of Denver, a pub- 
lic school teacher. Song leader is Harold Redmon. 

Most camp-goers are local people to whom campmeeting is an an- 
nual tradition, but campmeeting is far more than a local church event. 

"They come here from all over the country," said Eubanks. "They're 
people who grew up with campmeeting but scattered as they grew up. 
But no matter where they go, they keep coming back to our little camp- 
meeting." 

Eubanks said preparations for the 1978 campmeeting are going well, 
but there's one problem. Camp officials are looking for a bell to an- 
nounce church services and other activities. So far, they've had no luck. 

154 



1978 



"If we knew where we could buy a bell then we would buy it," said 
Eubanks. "The trouble is, we can't find one." 



Campmeeting Roots Run Deep 

August - "It's a tradition we were raised to," said Ouida Sigmon, 69, 
of Sherrills Ford in Catawba County. "This campmeeting is about the 
only thing country people have. I've been coming since I was born." 

Mrs. Sigmon and husband, Bill, sat on a weathered bench outside 
their cabin, which everyone calls a tent. Mrs. Sigmon's mother and grand- 
mother tented in that same cabin. Her own daughter, son and three 
granddaughters sometimes stay there. 

"The whole family was here yesterday," Mrs. Sigmon said Monday. 
"And they'll all be back Sunday." 

Crowds at the campground were largest on opening day Sunday, 
when an estimated 1,500 heard a sermon in a timber tent by Dr. Mitchell 
Faulkner of Charlotte. Faulkner, 59, was minister at Myers Park United 
Methodist Church for four years before joining the Methodist's Council 
of Higher Education in Charlotte. 

The crowd may pass 2,000 when the campmeeting ends Sunday 
morning "if it ain't too hot," said Ray Harwell as he poured a Coke at a 
concession stand where he's worked 35 summers. 

Meanwhile, preaching goes on three times daily (10 a.m. for chil- 
dren; 4 p.m. for teens and at 8 p.m. for everyone). Small children run 
along worn dirt paths and scream. Young couples hold hands; some read 
the Bible together. Older folks sit in porch swings and reaffirm friend- 
ships and family ties. Teenagers look for new friends. 

"We love to come," said Karen Miller, 14, of Lincolnton, as she walked 

155 



1978 



around the campground's central arbor in jeans. "We go to church and 
just have fun... and meet new guys." 

The campmeeting is open to all. Although families who built most 
of the tents own them, some usually can be rented at the campground. 

"This is a celebration of people getting back to their roots," said Dr. 
Faulkner. "It's a wonderful experience - and it's as strong as it's ever been." 



Good Preaching 

Dr. Wilson Weldon has been doing some mighty good preaching at 
the campmeeting. His sermon Monday on "Prayer" was one of the best 
I've heard on the subject. 

Jr. Barkley did a good job teaching our Sunday School class last Sun- 
day. 

Didn't the Bethel children sing beautifully last Sunday morning? 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



156 




Children play in front of a row of cabins at Rock Spring Camp 




Relaxing at Campmeeting - Relaxing, taking it easy, forgetting about the cares of the day. 

That's living, campmeeting style. Here, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Barker sit and chat in front of 

their tent at the Rock Spring Campground. The Barkers say they like the relaxed 

abnosphere of campmeeting and enjoy visiting with friends and relatives. 



157 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1978 

BEGINNING BALANCE: $8,411.64 

CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1978: 

Jones Fish Camp (trustees) $58.00 

Lincoln Times News (adv. for shack) 24.96 

Bill Ballard (flowers for B.S. Sherrill funeral ) 38.00 

Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Dept. (meals) 17.53 

Wilbur Sherrill (work on pump) 40.00 

Roy Eubanks (gift for Harold Redmon) 6.00 

Jimmy Brotherton (new bell) 45.00 

McAlister Well Drilling (switch & labor) 23.60 

Roy Eubanks (Jones Fish Camp, preachers) 27.70 

Terry Brotherton (toilets) 600.00 

Dr. Wilson Weldon (preacher 4 nights) 200.00 

Dr. Jake Golden (preacher 4 nights) 200.00 

Chris Fitzgerald (youth) 150.00 

Mrs. Hugh Cosby (children) 25.00 

Roy Eubanks 200.00 

Rhonda Martin (children) 25.00 

Carolyn Howard (pianist) 25.00 

Leigh Ann Johnston (pianist) 20.00 

Romona Christopher (pianist) 150.00 

Lincoln Co. Sheriff's Dept. (police) 720.00 

Duke Power Company 73.27 

Rader Insurance Company 66.00 

Inez Sherrill 150.00 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 225.00 

Johnson Piano Ex. 130.00 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (pump motor repairs) 29.00 

Duke Power Company 429.66 

Robinson & Smith Pipe Company 30.58 

John L. Rosenboro (garbage) 300.00 

Harold Harwell (labor & straw) 80.00 

Baucom Radio & Sound 220.00 

J.W. Sigmon (labor) 1 13.50 

DEPOSITS: 6.545.45 

$14,957.09 

CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1978: -4.442.80 

BALANCE END OF 1978 $10,514.29 

SAVINGS $5,497.46 



158 



Arbor Collections for 1978 



DATE 


DAY 




AMOUNT 


8-5 


Sat. 




$43.40 (Balance after paying singers) 


8-6 


Sun. 


A.M. 


$395.91 


8-6 


Sun. 


P.M. 


$91.49 


8-7 


Mon 




$125.23 


8-8 


Tue. 




$155.11 


8-9 


Wed. 




$166.44 


8-10 


Thu. 




$138.42 


8-11 


Fri. 




$203.49 


8-12 


Sat. 




$194.83 


8-13 


Sun. 




$866.07 


TOTAL: 






$2,378.89 



159 



1978 



Trustee Passes 

Longtime secretary and treasurer for Rock 
Spring, B.S. Sherrill, Sr., died during 1978. 



New Bell 




A new bell for the arbor was purchased prior to campmeeting for 
$45.00. The old bell was destroyed by vandals. 



Family Reunion 



Annual Beatty family reunion held on grounds September 17. 




Marty Eady, Gary Cornelius, 

Marshall Howard and Clyde 

Armstrong of the Denver and 

Lincolnton Jaycees built and erected 

a sign in front of shack during 1978 

campmeeting. 



160 



1979 

Trustees Meet 

February 2 - The Rock Spring Campground trustees met at Jones 
Fish Camp. All trustees were present except B.S. Sherrill and Roy Eubanks. 
Noted the night as being very foggy. 

Mrs. Barker had a request presented to have a historical sign erected 
at Denver intersection. Voted to give her that authority. 

Bill Ballard reported on need for grading road around grounds and 
for additional lights for parking lots. 

Johnny Edwards was suggested as a qualified person to fill a vacancy 
on the board. No action taken. 

Another meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. May 6 at the grounds. 



Getting Ready 



June 30 (Saturday) - A work day was held at the campground. The 
shack was offered to the highest bidder at 12 noon. 



Campmeeting Staff Announced 

July 11 - People have been asking about campmeeting for a good 
while. Perhaps the following information will be of value when you are 
asked questions. 

The Gospel Singing will begin at 7:30 Saturday evening, August 4. 1 
do not have a list of the singers. 

Mr. Jim Mundy will teach the Sunday School lesson on Sunday, 
August 5, and Doug Mayes will teach on August 12. 

161 



1979 



Chris Fitzgerald will be our preacher for the entire week. He will be 
with us for our morning service on August 5 and remain with us through 
the following Sunday morning. 

As you know, Chris is only about 24 years of age. Some people will 
be surprised that we are having such a young man for our preacher. Ah, 
but they won't be surprised after they hear him. I am not as interested in 
a person's age as I am his ability to proclaim the Good News. Chris will 
do well. 

We are fortunate to have Harold Redmon coming back to work with 
our choir and lead our congregational singing. The music is a very im- 
portant part of a worship service. Our campmeeting singing, by the choir 
and congregation, is truly great. 

Tim Rogers will be working with our young people following the 
worship services. More than ninety young people showed up for one of 
these sessions last year! 

Mrs. Hugh Cosby will work with our children. I think she plans to 
have two groups, which will likely consist of a total of from 70-80 young- 
sters. The first session will be held on Monday morning, August 6, at 10 
a.m. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



162 










o 

p 



253 






163 



1979 



At 97, She's Off to Campmeeting, but will 
Skip Bunk Bed 

August 1 (Wednesday) - When the roll is called at campmeeting 
next week, Pearle Gabriel will be there. 

Mrs. Gabriel, who will turn 97 on September 8, has missed only one 
session at Rock Spring Campgrounds in Denver in her whole life. That 
was in 1948, when campmeeting was cancelled due to a polio epidemic. 

Now living at the Brian Center nursing home in Mooresville, she's 
looking forward to her return. 

"I guess I won't be spending the night this year," she said. "It takes 
too much scrambling to get up on those bunk bends. They're so high, 
you know." 

But she'll be at Rock Spring on opening Sunday and on "Big Sun- 
day" the following week. And probably for some sessions between. 

"I can hardly wait," she said, her eyes beaming like altar candles. 

Mrs. Gabriel, in a soft print dress fastened at the throat with a cameo, 
likes to sit and talk about the old days at Rock Spring. 

"We used to go in wagons, piled up with straw and all our belong- 
ings for the week," she said. "We'd carry chickens in a coop and country 
ham and we'd eat good all week." 

"Some of the folks came in covered wagons and slept in them," she 
recalled. "We always had a tent, always. Even before I was born." 

The years have dimmed her memory, but childhood memories at 
the camp comes back bright as a Sunday School penny. 

"They always had special services for the children - special sermons 
and lessons and singing," she recalls. "Afterwards, we'd go out and play 
in the quadrangle," she continued. "Games where you held hands and 
made a circle and someone was it. I can't recall the names now." 

Mrs. Gabriel's return to Rock Spring each year always sets off a host 
of hugging and kissing and welcoming handshakes. 

Elizabeth Smith 

164 




Pearle Gabriel, avid camper 



165 



1979 



At Rock Spring it's Campmeeting Time 

July 30 (Monday) - Georgianna Howard, who'll be 90 come Octo- 
ber, has been going to campmeeting since 1901. There's been only two 
years she's missed - once in 1948 when the polio outbreak forced cancel- 
lation and another year when meningitis swept through the area. 

Even having twins in June one year didn't stop her from gathering 
up her 10 other children, along with two babies, and tenting at camp- 
meeting in early August. 

This year's meeting, if a bad foot allows her to attend, will be Mrs. 
Howard's 77th. 

Campmeeting isn't what it once was, Mrs. Howard says, but that 
doesn't mean she wants things to be the way they were. No, the changes 
she's seen have mostly been the addition of modern conveniences that 
have made tenters' lives easier. 

"People used to have a hard time going to campmeeting," Mrs. 
Howard says. "When we first went to campmeeting we had to cook over 
a log and in black pots. There was no place to buy anything to eat. You 
had to have everything there at the campground. You had to cook a 
great big sack of tea cakes, bake about 20 other cakes and boil a big ham. 
You had to cook the chickens beforehand and take them. You could take 
live chickens and put them in a coop they had down there and then 
have someone kill and dress them." 

"You didn't have a refrigerator, nothing like you've got now. If you 
wanted fresh butter, you had to keep it in a spring branch." 

There was no ice for tea, Mrs. Howard says, so people had to go to 
the spring to drink cold water. There were other inconveniences: "There 
weren't any electric lights. You had to have your kerosene lights. If a 
cloud knocked your light out, well, you were just done. You went to the 
woods and got pine knots. They made a good light." 

"Sometimes when you were cooking out, some devilish boys would 
come and get your ham skillet and one would pick up your coffee kettle 

166 



1979 



and they'd be gone." 

"People went in wagons and buggies. I've seen wagons come down 
the road, horses hitting the back of the buggy in front of them, just like 
cars bumper to bumper." 

And the preaching: "They had good preaching. They did a lot of 
shouting. They'd shout and tear their shirts off." 

Mrs. Howard doesn't miss the shouting that much. "Here year be- 
fore last," she says, "someone was shouting and it scared the chaps to 
death." 

But to shout or not to shout is an individual's choice, she quickly 
adds. "I think if you feel like shouting, shout." 

Mrs. Howard remembers well the story she heard her husband's fa- 
ther tell about the earthquake that shook the campmeeting one year. 
(In 1886 an earthquake leveled many buildings in Charleston, SC, and 
tremors were felt over much of the South.) 

"The earthquake was before my time," she explains, "but Grandpa 
Howard was just married at that time and he was there. He said that 
before they had that earthquake there was nobody wanting to be saved; 
everybody was just sitting back, hard-hearted. Well, one man prayed for 
the Lord to shake the earth, to stir up the people. Well, the earth went to 
shaking, the arbor went to shaking. Everybody got scared and ran out. 
The man who prayed for the earthquake was the first one out. Every- 
body left the campground, hitched up to their buggies and wagons and 
went home. They were scared to death, but the next day they came 
back. Grandpa Howard said it was the scaredest time he'd ever lived 
through." 

"Next day, he said, when the preacher got up and called them to 
come forward, everybody went. They were crawling in there and every- 
body was praying." 

In addition to campmeeting's religious nature, Mrs. Howard says, 

167 



1979 



it's also a festive social occasion where friendships are made and renewed. 
Young people, in particular, have always enjoyed campmeeting, she adds, 
because of its potential for romance. 

"I met my husband there," Mrs. Howard explains. Campmeetings 
could also be hazardous for prior romances, however. "If you had a boy- 
friend and went to campmeeting, you always saw someone who looked 
a little better and - pfft - you'd lose him and get another one. But then 
later you'd go back and get him." 

Mrs. Howard smiles when she talks about her days of "fortune tell- 
ing" at campmeeting. 

"Oh, yes, I used to tell fortunes," she says laughing. "I'd see a girl 
and find out who her boyfriend was and the color of his hair. Well, the 
girl would come to me and I'd look in her hand and tell all about her 
boyfriend, already knowing all the details. They actually got to coming 
in there, boys from Charlotte, knowing what the price was. I was just 
having fun out of the chaps. I had to tell them I didn't know how to tell 
fortunes." 

Those memories from campmeetings past bring satisfaction to Mrs. 
Howard. "I'd like to go back one time and see how it would feel," she 
says, "but I don't know if I liked it better that way." 

Campmeetings today are something she still looks forward to. Five 
generations of her family will be there and Mrs. Howard says, "That's 
why I feel like I'm a rich woman. They'll all come and they're all good- 
looking." 

Doug Mays, WBTV's "On The Square" reporter and former news 
anchorman, has interviewed Mrs. Howard and now almost always stops 
in to see her at campmeeting. Mays traditionally teaches Sunday School 
the last day of camp. 

Seventy-seven campmeetings have helped keep Mrs. Howard think- 
ing young and sharp, but she gives another reason: "I just never thought 

168 



1979 



about getting old." She gives this advice: "Don't look in a glass when 
you pass 60. Don't ever think about yourself." 

She says, "I don't like to be around old people with their grunts and 
groans. I like to be around young people - it keeps you young. You can 
be blue and meet up with a crowd of youngsters and it passes on." 

"I like to tease them. If they get mad, well, that's all right. They'll 
come back." 

If Mrs. Howard makes it to campmeeting again this year, she says 
she'll "visit around, tell jokes, see all the people I know. It's a great plea- 
sure to go and see them coming in with their families." 

And Mrs. Howard says she'll enjoy all the food that's there because, 
as she says, "Everything just eats so good at campmeeting." 



169 



1979 



Worship and Friendship Draw Followers 

August 4 (Friday) - Ouida Sigmon was born in January 71 years 
ago. The following August her mother took her to the Rock Spring Camp- 
meeting. Since then, she has missed only two meetings. Once was be- 
cause she had just given birth to a son. The next was during 1948, when 
the campmeeting was called off because of the polio scare. 

"It's just a tradition," said Mrs. Sigmon, who remembers seeing people 
come in horse and wagon to campmeetings in the past. 

"Once the campmeeting bug bites you, you just keep coming back," 
she explained. 

The Rev. Roy Eubanks of Denver, host minister at the Rock Spring 
Campmeeting, said he used to pass the campgrounds on his way to go 
fishing. "At first I thought it was a chicken farm, then later I figured out 
it must be a turkey farm," Eubanks said. 

The minister found out what the tents really were seven years ago 
when he moved to Denver and was put in charge of the campmeeting. 

Eubanks thinks too much emphasis has been put on the social rea- 
sons for the meetings and not enough on the spiritual. 

"The Rock Spring Campmeeting is a revival in the best sense of the 
word," Eubanks said. "When 300 to 500 people will sit in 90 to 100 
degree heat to worship God, that's dedication." 

John Borchert, communications director for the United Methodist 
district superintendent's office in Charlotte, said that over the years the 
meetings have become as much a vacation for people as a religious ex- 
perience. 

"In the old days the campmeetings were an expression of real gut 
religion, where people wrenched their souls out, trying to get rid of 
sin," Borchert said. 



170 




Under bare rafters of camp shelter, the choir sings during evening church service 




171 



1979 



They Help in an Emergency 

Tent No. 58 is one of the quietest tents at Rock Spring Campground 
this week, and that's the way they like it. 

Traditionally it's the tent that houses the rescue squad and the 
sheriff's deputies. With more than 2,000 tenters on the grounds, both 
units maintain a 24-hour vigil. 

The deputies say their presence serves primarily as a deterrent and 
they declined to comment on problems arising during recent sessions. 

"The real meaning of campmeeting is out there under the arbor," 
Deputy Bob Jetton said. 

The strains of "Count Your Blessings" floated from the open-ended 
structure as evening services took place less than 100 yards from the 
sheriff's official car and the orange and white ambulance, both parked 
on grass in front of Tent No. 58. 

Jetton and the other five deputies on duty reflected a seasoned atti- 
tude about campmeetings. Not so with Capt. Ronnie Rhinehart of the 
East Lincoln Rescue Squad. "This is our first year to man this unit alone," 
he said. "We're excited about the opportunity." 

Rhinehart's rescue squad serves the burgeoning eastern third of Lin- 
coln County. Based at Triangle on Highway 16, the squad first saw the 
light of day in March of 1978. Now it boasts 30 volunteer members, a 
newly equipped 1977 Dodge van to serve as ambulance and crash truck 
with round-the-clock service. 

Rhinehart and the other three members on duty for the night, all 
clad in spanking new pumpkin-colored coveralls, had just ministered to 
a lad with two loosened front teeth. Through their paging system they 
contacted his dentist and arranged a rendezvous. 

"Last night we took a man to the hospital but it wasn't serious," 
Rhinehart said. "And there'll be bee stings and scratched knees, but we 
hope nothing worse." 

As he talked, his toddler son, Matt, almost 2, tugged at his father's 

172 



1979 



coveralls, pointing to his gas-filled balloon as it floated toward the ris- 
ing moon. "That's one I can't rescue, son," Rhinehart said with a pat on 
Mart's head. 

The campmeeting, now 151 years old, hasn't always been this peace- 
ful. In frontier days it attracted the rough and ready who necessitated a 
strict judicial system and a jail on the premises. Curfews were enforced 
and no one was permitted to leave the grounds during the week-long 
session. 

Now the atmosphere is casual, and autos arrive and leave with regu- 
larity. Many tenters commute to daytime jobs, to grocery stores and 
beauty shops, and attendance at the religious services is no longer obliga- 
tory. 

After the last "Amen" sounded from the arbor, the quadrangle sud- 
denly filled with worshippers making their way to the concession stand, 
to their own tents, or to go promenading. From the crowd emerged Res- 
cue Squad Corporal David Rice with a bright yellow balloon for young 
Matt Rhinehart. 

"Now, that's a real 
rescue," Capt. Rhinehart 
said. 



East Lincoln Rescue Squad 
Volunteer Anne Sigmon gets 
a handle on a squad vehicle. 




173 



1979 



15,000 Visit for Revival 

August 8 - Before nightfall Sunday, up to 15,000 people from near 
and far will visit the Rock Spring Campground. Many will spend the 
week-long revival in one of 250 tents - really wooden shacks. 

Most of the faithful have migrated to the campmeeting every year 
of their lives. 

"It's just the one time of year to see old friends," said Mrs. Virginia 
Dellinger of Lowesville, south of Denver. "It's like a big family reunion." 
Dellinger has come faithfully for 40 years. 

"A lot of people met their husbands here," said Mrs. Francis Kiser of 
Lowesville. 

"You're supposed to break up with your boyfriend the week before 
you come," said Mrs. Cammie Miller of Charlotte, remembering earlier 
days. 

"I used to enjoy walking around with my fellas," added Kiser. "Now 
I sit around and watch the younger generation." 

Plenty of distractions filled earlier campmeetings, recalls Kiser. A 
snake in the rafters held the revival audience spellbound; an ice truck 
accidentally unloaded its cargo on a muddy slope. 

The opening Saturday night crowd tops 2,000, the largest ever, says 
Roy Eubanks, pastor of four Denver area Methodist churches. Eubanks 
organizes the campmeeting each year. 

The crowd booms out the gospel songs. Divinity school student 
Chris Fitzgerald delivers the message. 

On the sidelines, Lincoln County deputy sheriffs and EMTs from 
the East Lincoln Rescue Squad stand around. They drink Cokes, smoke 
cigarettes and discuss politics. 

Almost everyone knows the number of years they've attended. Ev- 
eryone knows his neighbors. 

"Around here everyone's kin, " said Billy Sherrill, who married into 
the Miller family and attends with brothers, sisters, children, nephews 

174 



1979 



and cousins. 

Joe Barker of Denver, 80, attended with his wife, Ruth, three chil- 
dren, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild. 

"The campmeeting grew out of old rural America," said Eubanks. 
"The early days were much rougher than today," he insists. 

Most of the fixing-up - hammering, sawing, grass cutting, floor 
sweeping, straw spreading, dusting and cleaning - ended yesterday with 
"Little Week", the traditional getting-ready time. 

Now it's down to the business of what Rhyne Henley calls "enjoy- 
ing something extra to get my soul fed." He has been going to camp- 
meeting since his family moved to Lincoln County 55 years ago. 

Amy Howard, who will enter East Lincoln High School this fall, is 
here to hobnob with friends she hasn't seen all summer. "I'll go to preach- 
ing a couples times," she admitted with a grin. 

But people like Ray Harwell of Denver, who will be 71 years old in 
September, has been coming here annually for 70 years. He and his son, 
Harold, work at the campground concession stand, commonly called 
"the shack." They help get the big street lights up and operating, as well 
as laying in a supply of goodies that will be snapped up by the campers 
for the next seven days. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Sigmon of Rt. 2, Sherrills Ford, are attending their 
71st campmeeting and say they wouldn't miss one. Claude Carpenter of 
Lincolnton has his son, daughter-in-law and his eight-year-old twin 
grandsons, who have been coming since they were in arms, set up for 
the week. 

There'll be gospel singing, heartfelt praying, and soul-searching ser- 
monizing - the stuff that's kept Mamie Sherrill coming to campmeeting 
for 66 years. 

"Only missed two in that time," she beamed. "There ain't no better 
way to worship... not if'n you wanna do it right." 

175 



1979 



"When you've been born and reared on campmeetings, you don't 
grow up and forget about 'em... you just keep coming back because some- 
thing tells you to," Emmet Michael of Lincolnton said. He has gone to 
the campmeeting for 41 of his 43 years - always with a gaggle of kinfolk. 

"You come here looking for something to remind you of the past," 
said Annie Faye Nelson, a 50-odd-year campmeeting devotee. "You're 
looking for something to tell you that good traditions don't die." 

Sermons, like the one delivered Tuesday night by 24-year-old Chris 
Fitzgerald, are calm and introspective - greeted occasionally by an 
"Amen," but mostly by silent nodding. 

Some, like 20-year-old Tommy Long, will slip away from the gath- 
ering for "a hot bath and a hamburger without dust. There's just no 
reason to stay all day every day," he admitted. 

Those who do are after the one thing that remains unchanged over 
the years - campground fellowship. 

Donna Moore and Lynnette Norkett know a lot about that. They're 
eighth graders from Mecklenburg County who know how a campmeet- 
ing can pull together just the people you want to see. "The flies bug us 
and it gets mighty hot," Lynnette said, "but that's pretty easy to take 
when you know you can meet all your old friends, see what they've 
done and how they've cut their hair." 

Seeing and being seen is high on the list of campmeeting incen- 
tives, the girls added. 

That's obvious after dinner when the teenagers take to promenad- 
ing along the paths that lie between rows of rough-and-tumble huts still 
called tents in honor of the first campground dwellings. 

Mamie Sherrill, 83, looked at the scene and sighed. "Many a girl has 
met her husband right here on this campground," she said. "I guess 
they're just following the law of Adam and Eve." 



176 



Arbor Collections for 1979 



DATE 


DAY 




AMOUNT 


8-4 


Sat. 




$38.20 (Balance after paying singers) 


8-5 


Sun. 


A.M. 


$499.22 


8-5 


Sun. 


P.M. 


$134.35 


8-6 


Mon. 




$95.95 


8-7 


Tue. 




133.10 


8-8 


Wed. 




$141.86 


8-9 


Thu. 




$122.15 


8-10 


Fri. 




$267.95 


8-11 


Sat. 




$267.57 


8-12 


Sun. 




$888.74 


TOTAL: 






$2,589.09 



177 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1979 



BALANCE ENDING 1978: 




$10,514.20 


CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1979: 






Dixie Rental Company (toilets) 


$873.60 




Roy Eubanks (feeding preachers) 


18.31 




Racier Insurance 


66.00 




J.W. Sigmon (labor & straw) 


133.00 




W.C. Ballard (labor) 


157.27 




Chris Fitzgerald (preacher) 


300.00 




Harold Redmon (song leader) 


200.00 




Leigh Ann Johnston (pianist) 


150.00 




Tim Rogers (young people) 


150.00 




Carolyn Howard (pianist) 


20.00 




Rosa Cosby (children) 


150.00 




Roy Eubanks 


200.00 




Denver Plumbing Company 


3818.00 




Lincoln County Sheriffs Dept. 


800.00 




Baucom Radio & Sound 


230.00 




John Rosenboro (garbage pickup) 


300.00 




Harold Harwell (labor) 


225.00 




B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (labor) 


225.00 




Inez Sherrill 


150.00 




Claremont Building Company 


168.99 




Crescent Electric Company 


80.39 




Johnson Piano Company 


156.00 




Finger Brothers Company 


302.59 




Henkel Concrete Company 


174.20 




L.L. Keener Company 


26.52 




B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (supplies) 


26.00 




Maintenance Supply Company (toilet tissue) 


28.25 




Duke Power Company 


448.49 




Howard Construction Company (doors and frames) 


920.00 




Duke Power Company 


2.05 




Duke Power Company 


96.95 
$10,596.61 




BANK BALANCE 1978: 




$10,514.29 


DEPOSITS: 




$6,950.51 
$17,364.80 


CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1979 




-$10,596.61 


BALANCE ENDING 1979 




$6,768.19 


SAVINGS (3-31-80) 




$5,862.57 
$12,630.76 



178 



Photos on following pages previously appeared in Rock Spring 
Campmeeting, written by Lily Estelle Sigmon and published by 
the Rock Spring Lions Club. Photos are early 1970s. 



Old friends greet 
each other 




Following a worship sendee many 

congregate around the piano to sing their 

favorite camp hymns 





One week of forgotten problems 



Arbor overflow 



179 




The elderly keep coming back 




Taking time to chat 




Typical back view of tents 





Usher passes the collection "pan" to 
worshippers outside the arbor 




The congregation under the old 
arbor for another worship 




Old timers meet again at the arbor 

It's pleasant to worship under the 
shade of the old oaks 



180 




The choir and congregation at a 
weekday evening worship 




The fellowship is great 




Re\>erence during prayer under the 
historic arbor 




Following the benediction at 
worship sendee 




Ready for the worship sendee 





It's "Big Sunday" worship 



Family life at 

campmeeting in one 

of the tents 



181 




Newcomers await the 
arrival of worshippers 



It's natural to return to camp 



Tenting on the old 
campground 




It's a week for the young Sitting on one of the big It's a great life for the kids 

rocks near the arbor 




A happy occasion 



'We wouldn't miss camping More - ^ . f hoks /fe 

each year. 



182 




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Oh f/ze way to the shack A young family ready for the 

arbor bell 



Arbor overflow 




Arbor overflow 



Mrs. Pearle Gabriel, an old 

timer, returns for another 

pleasant week. 



Youths play under the 
stately oaks 




Teenagers waiting outside Children enjoy the camp life Arbor overflow 

the arbor for the worship 



183 




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OM /h'erzds pose /or a Mrs. Minnie Little is the first Mrs. Talbert, one of the 

picture at the arbor one to move to her summer oldest tenters 

home 




Dashing out the dish water Modern mobile home at 

camp for a day 



Arbor overflow 




More arbor overflow 



One of the latest camp 
summer homes 



A good place for the young 
to gather 



184 




Groups surround the arbor for Sunday 
morning worship 



fust walking around the camp 




One of the night scenes - old and young mingle 



Typical evening scene at one of the 
wooden tents 



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B/g Sunday arbor overflow 



A night scene 



185 



1980 

Trustees Meet 

April 9 - All trustees, with exception of Frank Howard, present for a 
meeting at Jones Fish Camp. 

A Planning Session 

May 4 - Meeting of trustees held at 3 p.m. under arbor. Present: Bill 
Ballard, Jerry Sigmon, Frank Howard, Rev. Roy Eubanks and H.A. Jonas, 

Jr. 

Officers elected: Secretary - H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Treasurer - B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 

Mayor - Bill Ballard 

Annual financial report submitted by B.S. Sherrill, Jr., showing a 
balance as of 3-31-80 of $12,630.76. It was agreed that eight more toilets 
were needed in a second restroom on north side of grounds. Estimated 
cost was $8,000. Bill Ballard and Jimmy Brotherton agreed to construct 
building with trustees agreeing they should be paid for their labor. 

Jerry Wayne Dellinger and James Barker nominated and elected as 
trustees. Dellinger was put on Shack Committee, with Barker added to 
the Grounds Committee. 

Discussed upcoming campmeeting. Loy McConnell and Rev. 
Eubanks to work on the matters. 

Brotherton and Ballard to work on water supply. Sherrill selected to 
care for lights. 

Cleanup day scheduled for June 28, Saturday. 

Dellinger to arrange for garbage pickup for two full weeks. 

Ballard to contract J.W. Sigmon to mow grounds and furnish arbor 
straw. 

Jonas to advertise for shack bids in Newton and Lincolnton news- 
papers. Sealed bids to be opened at noon June 28. 

186 



1980 



Jonas to talk with Sheriff Crouse about deputies to work during camp- 
meeting. 

Publisher's note: James Barker declined the trustee position. 



Tent Cleaning Underway 

July 20 - "Everybody walks around the campground and goes to 
visit everybody," explained Derrick Dellinger, 16, who was at the camp- 
ground this week cleaning out the tent his family stays in every year. 

Dellinger, of Lowesville, said he has been attending campmeeting 
all his life. "My parents have been coming all their lives, too," he added. 

He said his family was planning to move in this Thursday or Friday 
and would spend over two weeks tenting at campmeeting. "People just 
like to come early," he said. 

Dellinger said the week leading up to the official start of campmeet- 
ing is called "Little Week." Big Week ends this year on August 10, a 
Sunday known as "Big Sunday." 

Brooks Robinson of Denver was also at the campground earlier this 
week, preparing his tent for his family. Robinson said most persons would 
pack up and leave on Big Sunday, but that it hasn't always been that 
way. 

Years ago, he said, "that would have been a sin to pack up then. It 
used to be everybody stayed until Monday." 

He said his wife, Helen, has attended campmeeting since she was a 
baby. "She's 51 years old and she's been coming 52 years," he noted, 
explaining that his wife attended her first birthday, making this year's 
meeting her 52nd. 

(Actually, that's not true, he went on to say. In 1948, campmeeting 

187 



1980 



was cancelled due to an outbreak of polio.) 

Robinson said a grandbaby of his born last Friday would likely come 
to campmeeting and start a record similar to his wife's. 

He said he comes back each year for "the fellowship of campmeet- 
ing," and that his family would probably move in this weekend or the 
first of next week. 

"It's supposed to be Methodists," Robinson said, "but, of course, 
there's Baptists come, Presbyterians, Lutherans." 

Campmeeting is simply a tradition for many folks raised in the Den- 
ver area, said the camp's longtime minister and organizer, Rev. Roy 
Eubanks. "They grow up with it and they come from all over. I mean all 
over." 

He said campmeeting officially begins August 2, with gospel sing- 
ing at 7:30 p.m. The Virginians horn Roanoke, VA, The Towers from 
Charlotte and Concord, and The Pilgrims from Lincolnton will be the 
guest groups. 

Worship services will be held the following two Sundays at 11 a.m., 
preceded by Sunday School at 9:45. Services will be held each night 
through the week at 8 p.m. Rev. J.C. Grose, Jr., of Main Street United 
Methodist Church in Kernersville will be the guest pastor. 

A special worship service for young people led by Tim Rogers will be 
held nightly after the regular service, Rev. Eubanks said. Beginning Mon- 
day after the opening, Rosa Cosby will conduct a session for children at 
10 each morning. 

The song leader for campmeeting will be Harold Redmon, and 
Leighann Johnson will be the pianist. 



188 



1980 



They Meet Friends at Rock Spring 

August 1 (Friday) - "Everybody you know is here," said Rita Lynch, 
30, of Denver. "I get to see a lot of friends I only see when I come here 
once a year. I wouldn't miss it," she added. "If you were raised here, 
you'd love it. If you weren't, you'd wonder why we come here." 

Louise Barker, 58, also of Denver, said her husband, James, who is a 
carpenter, considers the meetings his vacation. The Barkers always set 
their tent up more than a week before the meetings start so they can 
visit friends. 

"He (James Barker) just likes it so good, he stays up to 3 o'clock 
every morning if he can find someone to talk to that late," Mrs. Barker 
said. 

"I grew up with it and this is just one of those things which has 
gotten into my blood," said Ron Howard, 24, another Denver resident 
who spent Friday building a new room onto his tent. 

Andy Barker, 13, also of Denver, said he likes the meetings simply 
because they give him a chance to learn more about his God. 



Campmeeting Means Feeling Good 

August 13 (Sunday) - They gathered twice Sunday in the splintery 
old pews, about a thousand of them jammed into the rough wooden 
shed, with straw on the floor and fluorescent lights glaring horn the 
unpainted ceiling. 

It was campmeeting time in the small town of Denver as lifelong 
Methodists, many of them rural, drifted in steadily to the Rock Spring 
Campground. 

Clutching paperback hymnals with faded gray covers as the melo- 
dies were plunked out on an upright piano, they sang all the old stan- 

189 



1980 



dards, from "Rock of Ages" to "Bringing in the Sheaves." 

It was a time of revival and family reunion, a happy sort of meshing 
of rural American values that seem remarkably the same as when the 
meetings began. 

"I think we still have the evangelistic zeal," said Roy Eubanks, a wry 
and graying 55-year-old preacher who is a kind of modern-day circuit 
rider. 

Eubanks, who acts as principal coordinator of the Rock Spring meet- 
ing, also serves four churches in the Denver area, preaching at two of 
the four on alternating Sundays. 

His style is a little different horn his counterparts of old. He doesn't 
shout much, or expect the amens to ring out from the crowd. But at 
campmeeting time, he does seem to revel in the color of the occasion - 
a thousand people camped in rustic wooden shelters, settling in with 
their families for a week of nightly preaching while children scamper 
through the campground dust. 

Even the sermons have a lighthearted tinge. J.C. Grose, a Kernersville 
minister who shared Sunday's pulpit, chose as his text an upbeat pas- 
sage from the 16th Psalm: "In thy presence is fullness of joy..." 

"There are still those people who think of religion as a long-faced 
thing," Grose said. "But as you find out in these campmeetings, it's a 
singing, radiant and joyful occasion. Fame is transitory and riches fade 
away. But when you got a glory, it's there to stay." 

The message produced smiles from the people, and the old-timers 
say that's how it's always been. 

"You enjoy it," said John Mcintosh, a friendly, graying man of 67, 
who had driven in from Wilson, east of Raleigh. "I've missed four years 
out of 67, and two of those were in World War II. Grandma Jenkins - 
that was my grandmother, who died in '41 - she attended from the time 
she was a little girl. She used to bring her chickens, maybe 20 hens, and 

190 



1980 



she'd stay two weeks." 

"That's how a lot of people did. They were rural people with time 
on their hands before the harvest, and they figured this was a good way 
to spend it. Yeah, you could say it's quite a tradition." 



Arbor Collections for 1980 



DAY 


AMOUNT 


Sat. 


$43.10 (Balance after paying singers) 


Sun. a.m. 


$659.76 


Sun. p.m. 


$102.30 


Mon. 


$115.02 


Tue. 


$110.64 


Wed. 


$164.18 


Thu. 


$214.80 


Fri. 


$264.53 


Sat. 


$222.58 


Sun. 


$972.91 


TOTAL: 


$2,869.82 



191 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1980 



CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1980: 

Jones Fish Camp (Trustees) 

Henkel Concrete 

Cook & Boardman 

Kenny Finger (Bathrooms) 

Observer News Enterprises (Adv.) 

Lincoln Times (Adv.) 

Rader Insurance 

Southern Electric Service 

Shelby Concrete (Blocks) 

McClure Lumber Company 

L.L. Keever Company (Sand) 

Claremont Whse & Building Supplies 

Observer News Enterprise 

Denver Plumbing Company 

Jones Fish Camp (Fed preachers) 

J.W. Sigmon (Labor & straw) 

J.W. Sigmon (Straw) 

Bill Ballard (Building toilets) 

J.C. Grose, Jr. (Camp preacher) 

Harold Redmon (Song leader) 

Leigh Ann Johnson (Pianist) 

Tim Rogers (Young people) 

Rosa Cosby (Children) 

Carolyn Howard (Pianist) 

Romona Christopher (Pianist) 

Roy Eubanks 

Baucom Radio & Sound 

Sheriff's Dept. 

John Rosenboro (Garbage) 

Harold Harwell (Labor) 

Duke Power Company 

McAlister Well Drilling (Labor & tank) 

Claremont Whse Building 

Brady Printing Company (Receipt books) 

Johnson Piano Exchange 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. (Labor) 

Inez K. Sherrill (Tent tax) 

Duke Power Company 

McClure Lumber Company 



$200.21 

296.40 

303.00 

16.50 

26.16 

66.00 

81.64 

631.39 

468.20 

41.60 

123.79 

39.36 

2,960.00 

15.00 

120.00 

20.00 

688.00 

300.00 

200.00 

95.00 

150.00 

150.00 

20.00 

57.00 

200.00 

230.00 

900.00 

300.00 

225.00 

134.53 

704.00 

138.54 

73.32 

202.80 

225.00 

150.00 

451.72 

119.26 

Disbursements: $11,200.90 



BALANCE END OF 1979 
DEPOSITS 1980 

LESS DISB. 

BALANCE - FEB. 1981 
SAVINGS ACCOUNT 



$6,768.19 

8.264.37 

$15,032.56 

-11.200.90 

$3,831.66 

$6,098.44 



192 




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193 




Eating seems better - Bill and Joyce Ballard have benefits of electricity, but little 

else has changed. 



194 




Campmeeting Going On - Saturday night's gospel singing officially opened the 151st 
annual Rock Spring Campmeeting with the crowd spilling from the historic arbor under the 
giant oak trees. The Burke Family of Maiden, Pilgrims Quartet ofLincolnton, The Towers 

of Charlotte, and The Virginians of Roanoke got a warm welcome from the audience. 

Worship sendees continue this week at 7:30 p.m. with Carolina Freight chaplain Jack 
Cooke closing "Big Sunday" sendees at 11 a.m. 




Simple Pleasures - Yates and Jessie McConnell, Margie Fox, Ruth 
Sigmon share conversation 



195 





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197 



1981 

Tenters "Burned Up" Over Fire 

January 26 (Monday) - Fire struck the Rock Spring Campground 
Monday night, destroying seven and damaging thirteen of two hun- 
dred forty wooden huts where worshippers meet each summer for out- 
door religious services. 

The blaze was reported about 11:30 p.m. Monday by a nearby resi- 
dent, said Denver Fire Chief Lee Killian. About 75 firemen from five 
volunteer departments fought the flames, which destroyed and dam- 
aged the electricity-less wooden structures called "tents" by those who 
attend the religious gathering held each August. 

Fortunately, the fire was not as damaging as the one on Oct. 30, 
1979, which destroyed 99 of the estimated 230 tents. Fast work by the 
firemen late Monday night was credited with saving additional struc- 
tures from ruin. 

Killian said the Pumpkin Center and East Lincoln departments, along 
with the Denver one, were called to the scene as soon as the fire was 
reported to the Lincoln County Communications Center. 

"The sky was red when we got out of our houses, so we knew we 
had a big one," Killian said. 

Soon thereafter, the Bandys and Sherrills Ford departments were 
also called. As is the case with large fires in the Denver area, the Bandys 
department set up a pumper at Jones Lake to supply water to the fire 
trucks traveling back and forth to the scene. 

"Evidently, it either started real fast or no one saw it for a long time," 
said Killian, who did not leave the campground until 6 a.m. 

The fire was under control by 3 a.m., but firemen stayed at the scene. 
Bulldozers were supplied by local business and a neighbor to help con- 
tain the blaze, Killian said. 

The fire broke out in a section of older tents on the south side of the 
campground. It was stopped just short of the tents that had been rebuilt 
after the 1973 fire, which spread throughout the northern and eastern 

198 



1981 



inner row of the connecting structures. 

Two rows of back-to-back tents encircle the arbor, where worship- 
pers gather. Yesterday's onlookers expressed relief that the wooden shel- 
ter wasn't damaged. 

But for those who lost tents in the fire, their ill feelings over the 
apparent work of trespassers was evident. Murrey Sherrill of Denver said 
tents in favorable locations are hard to come by. 

"If people knew what campmeeting meant to us, they wouldn't do 
it (trespass). I've been looking for one (a tent) for years, and I finally got 
one five years ago," Sherrill said as he scanned the ruins of his structure. 

But Sherrill was not as concerned about his loss as he was about that 
of his 92-year-old grandmother. 

"My grandma (Georgianna) Howard's tent was right there," Sherrill 
said, pointing to some charred debris. "I know that's not going to set 
well with her." 

Estimates of the cost of building a new tent ranged up to a few 
thousand dollars. But the cost will be well worth it, Sherrill said. "Have 
to build back - as much as I like campmeeting." 

The family of Dwight Callaway, a Denver mobile home dealer, has 
been attending the campmeetings for three generations. His 6-year-old 
tent was the newest one destroyed last night. 

"All we saved was the concrete floor," Callaway said. "Mine was the 
only new one. I guess I'm the big loser." 

"This looks sad to me," said Ottie Robinson of Mount Pleasant as 
she viewed the ruins. 

"It's more than sad," said Roger Sigmon of Denver, who said he has 
been attending the Rock Spring Campmeetings since 1921 - the year he 
was born. "People think a lot of this old place. They come to the meet- 
ings all the way from California and Texas. I really hope it wasn't set on 
fire." 

199 



1981 



Lincoln County sheriff's detective K.B. Crouse said he suspects ar- 
son in connection with the fire, but investigators can't be sure. Fire fight- 
ers destroyed any evidence there might have been when they bulldozed 
the burning buildings to keep the fire from spreading to the other tents. 

"I'm surprised there haven't been more fires there," said a resident 
who asked not to be identified. "People use the campgrounds when it's 
not being used for the meetings to shoot dope and drink. It was only a 
question of time until it caught on fire. It's a miracle that the whole 
campgrounds hasn't burned down by this time." 

Many onlookers were bitter about what they believe was once again 
the work of persons who trespass on the campground property. 

"They need to build a special room in Hell for people like this," said 
one woman. 



200 




Fire Aftermath - Onlookers survey the ruins left by fire at the Rock Spring Campground in 

Denver. The blaze, the second suspicious one in eight years at the historic religious site, 

destroyed 13 tents and damaged 7 others. 




Roger Sigmon, Allie Rhyne look over fire damage at Rock Spring Campground 



201 



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202 



1981 



Trustees Discuss Rebuilding 

February 5 - Trustees Rev. Roy Eubanks, Bill Ballard, Loy McConnell, 
Dennis Dellinger, Jerry Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, Jerry Dellinger, and Harvey 
Jonas, Jr., met to discuss the recent fire and what action should be taken 
concerning rebuilding. 

The secretary was asked to write letters to all fire departments that 
assisted in the fire-fighting efforts and express appreciation. It was sug- 
gested that Denver Fire Chief Lee Killian circulate the letters to the vari- 
ous departments. 

Bill Ballard reported there will be one extra space on the second row 
as a result of the fire. The new lot will measure 16' 6". 

It was suggested that firewalls be installed at intervals. 

A motion passed to contribute $100 each year to Denver VFD. 

Bill Ballard was authorized to contract for cleanup. 

Ballard and Jimmy Brotherton were instructed to lay off lots in 
burned areas. 

B.S. Sherrill gave a financial report. 

Jerry Wayne Dellinger was instructed to advertise and sell at public 
auction the extra lot on Saturday, May 2nd at noon. Holders of tents 
will not be allowed to bid. 

Agreed to try a singing on Friday night for local groups. 

Another meeting was scheduled for May 3 at 3 p.m. 



Free Housing for Deputy 

In early May, trustees met and agreed to offer free housing in a mo- 
bile home to be located on the campground. The resident was to be a 
deputy sheriff that would provide part-time security throughout the year 
in exchange for free rent. 

203 



1981 



Good Friday Fire Chars Tents 

Second Fire Within Four Months 

April 17 (Friday) - The second major fire in 2V2 months swept 
through the Rock Spring Campground leaving 38 wooden tents dam- 
aged or destroyed. 

More than 100 firefighters from six fire departments responded to 
the fire which was reported to the Lincoln County Communications 
Center at 7:26 p.m. by Harry Taylor. 

The Denver Volunteer Fire Department was the first to reach the 
scene, arriving within five minutes of the report. They found a number 
of tents already engulfed by flames estimated as high as 75 feet, accord- 
ing to assistant fire chief Eric Little. 

Additional help came from the East Lincoln, Pumpkin Center, North 
321, Bandys and Sherrills Ford fire departments. Boger City Fire Depart- 
ment was notified and asked to stand by, but wasn't called to the scene. 

Although drizzling rain throughout the afternoon had dampened 
the area, the tents, built with rough-cut, seasoned wood, burned quickly. 
The flames, fed by a stiff wind, spread to the northwest section of the 
circular campground and threatened tents rebuilt since a 1973 fire de- 
stroyed 89 tents. 

Through the flames could be seen charred remains of more tents 
destroyed by fire in January. An open-air arbor, the central meeting place 
for the campground, was not damaged by the fire. 

Initial efforts by firefighters were hampered by spectators who gath- 
ered at the scene creating a traffic problem. One East Lincoln firefighter, 
Mike Bost, said traffic congestion at the scene cost his department about 
five minutes during a crucial period of the fire. 

Once inside the campground, firefighters positioned pumpers and 
portable water tanks beside the arbor and began making a fire break 
around the burning structures. Meanwhile, mini tankers ferried water 
from a nearby pond. 

204 



1981 



The fire was brought under control within an hour, but firefighters 
continued to search the area for "hot spots" until 10:30 p.m. One truck 
from the Denver Fire Department remained at the scene throughout the 
night. 

The fire, which firefighters say began along the inner circle of tents 
near No. 1, the oldest standing structure, is believed to have been delib- 
erately set. 

"I'd say the odds are 100 to 1 that it was (set)," said Little. "It was 
awfully wet yesterday," Little said. "I don't think it was no accident, but 
we haven't found nothing to prove it (was arson)." 

Little said arson experts from the State Bureau of Investigation were 
to arrive at the campground this morning. 

"The tar on the roof looks like it may have been running," he said. 
"It's out in the center, and some of the tents on the inside row was 
burning. There was a lot of heat." 

While firemen were fighting the blaze with water, shacks on both 
sides of the burning area were bulldozed to create a fire lane, Little said, 
but the fire was brought under control before it reached the cleared area. 

Firefighters controlled the blaze at 8:26 p.m., though flames and 
smoke were still evident. 

Earl Keyser of Denver noticed dense black smoke spewing from the 
campground as he drove along NC-16. 

"We were a mile and a half from the fire, and we could see the smoke," 
Keyser said. "The flames were way up in the air about 40 to 50 feet. We 
were about 200 feet from it and could feel the flames." 

Ouida Sigmon, 73, can't understand why anyone would want to set 
fire to the Rock Spring Campmeeting ground. "We've asked ourselves 
why so many times," said Mrs. Sigmon, who has attended all but two of 
the annual campmeetings since she was born. "Why? Why would any- 
one destroy something that meant so much to so many people?" 

205 



1981 



Mrs. Sigmon said she and other Denver residents think the shanties 
were set on fire, possibly by some of the drug users they say frequent the 
deserted campground between the meetings. 

"I've been told there are quite a lot of drugs being handled there," 
Mrs. Sigmon said, expressing a view shared by Lincoln County law en- 
forcement authorities. "Somebody's always roving around there, and 
for no good reason." 

But Lincoln County Sheriff Harven Crouse said the shanties were so 
badly burned that investigators were unable to determine the fire's cause. 

"It's a wonder to me they haven't all burned down," Crouse said. 
"In the summertime, we've caught I don't know how many people loi- 
tering there and run them off. We could drive through there 20 times a 
day and not be able to keep everybody out of there who's not supposed 
to be there." 

The Rev. Roy Eubanks, a Methodist minister who serves as host pas- 
tor for the campground, said the people who own the buildings in the 
campground can't afford to hire a guard to protect them. 

Mrs. Sigmon agreed. "Most people are just like myself," she said. 
"They can't even afford to build new tents the way the cost of lumber 



is." 



Mrs. Sigmon said the building she and her family own is probably 
the oldest one remaining after the fire. It was one of the campground's 
first buildings, built about 150 years ago. 

"I said, 'I guess they'll burn us down next,'" she said Monday. 

But Mrs. Sigmon doesn't think the problems will stop the annual 
summer campmeetings. 

"I think the campground will go on," she said. "It's a hallowed spot." 



206 




Arson Suspected - Tenters inspect the charred remains of buildings at Rock Spring 
Camprneeting Ground near Denver. From left are J.W. Sigmon, Lee Killian, Richard 

Carpenter and Neil Setzer. 

Letter to the Editor 

On Friday night, April 17, the old section of Rock Spring Camp- 
ground burned (38 tents). This is the second fire this year and the third 
in the last 8 years. The previous fire before the one in 1973 was during 
the Civil War - possibly the work of Yankee soldiers, "the adversary from 
without." 

Everything went smoothly at old Rock Spring until July 1913 when 
the Methodist Episcopal Church South, who claimed ownership of the 
property, decided that camprneeting had outlived its usefulness and tried 
to close it down. 

Our ancestry fought back and with nickels and dimes collected from 
hundreds of tenters, camprneeting prevailed and they defeated "the ad- 
versary from within." 

As I stand amid the charred ruin of Tent No. 1 that had stood for 
one and a half centuries, I can't help but remember what a traveler from 



207 



1981 



up North once asked me about what they did with all those turkey pens 
down below Denver. I only smiled. He probably wouldn't have under- 
stood anyway. 

Campmeeting is our culture, our heritage, our roots. It is as dear to 
us as our church and the flag. We tenters are the descendants of pioneer 
stock who founded the campground in 1830, and before that pioneered 
the area west of the Catawba River. Our forefathers were instrumental in 
spreading religion westward into Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. 

Campmeeting to us is far more than a yearly revival. It is a family 
reunion, a gathering of cousins and friends from across the Piedmont. 
Each year in August we come together: the Methodist, the Baptist, the 
Presbyterian, and whatever denomination we might be. We gather with 
a common bond, to walk upon hallowed ground in harmony and fel- 
lowship with one another and our God. 

The Spirit of Campmeeting lives in us as it did in our forefathers. So 
it is passed down to our children. We get angry if you condemn it. We 
get angrier if you try to destroy it. 

You who try to destroy the campground, we condemn you. It will 
be a hardship on many to rebuild. To some it will be an end to a tradi- 
tion of more than a century. 

You who try to destroy, beware! We are like the oaks that stand 
charred horn your fire. Although we are wounded, our roots are deep. 
We will survive as our ancestors did before us and come August, with 
God's blessing, we will gather at old Rock Spring once again. 

Calvin Blalock 

Appeared in the Lincoln Times following 
fire of April 1 7. 



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209 



1981 



Trustees Offer $500 Reward 

Following the April 17 fire at Rock Spring Campground, trustees 
offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and convic- 
tion of the person or persons responsible for the fire at the historic site. 

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Lincoln County 
Sheriff's Department. 

"We really need to put some pressure somewhere along the line," 
said Jerry Dellinger, a trustee of the grounds. "We hope this reward will 
work. We need some kind of conviction." 



Tent Owners Rebuild 

May 3 - Faithful tenters, who have kept alive the tradition of gath- 
ering together for a week of worship and fellowship at the Rock Spring 
Campground for more than 150 years, simply refuse to let sporadic inci- 
dents of fire stop their annual fete. 

Therefore, owners of the wooden structures commonly referred to 
as tents have quietly and matter-of-factly begun rebuilding their burned 
and damaged structures. 

One tenter who plans to be rebuilt in time for this year's meeting in 
August is county tax supervisor Blair Abernethy. 

Abernethy's tent, believed to be the last remaining original log struc- 
ture, was destroyed in the most recent fire April 17. He plans to rebuild 
using rough-hewn logs which resemble the ones used when the camp- 
ground was established. 

"We started over there Saturday with a load of logs," Abernethy said, 
explaining that the truck hauling logs broke down enroute to the camp- 
ground. "If nothing else happens, we'll be there this Saturday." 

"This was my grandfather's tent," says Joe King of Denver, as he 
works at rebuilding the structure his family lost in the April fire, which 

210 



1981 



damaged or destroyed 38 tents. 

According to W.C. "Bill" Ballard, chairman of the board of trustees, 
more than half of the burned tents will be rebuilt by campmeeting time 
this year. 

"I have heard several say that they won't get built back this year, but 
they plan to rebuild next year," he says. 

The Rev. Roy Eubanks was aghast at even the suggestion that they 
might not. 

"They've had it all these years," he said, "we'd have it even if we 
had to hold it somewhere else." 

"We've often wondered about that, how it's survived after all that's 
happened to it," said Ballard, 55. 

Ballard, a Denver carpenter who has attended campmeetings since 
childhood, was laying concrete blocks at his tent, one of those burned. 

"It's a firewall," he said. "If it ever takes a notion to burn again, it 
might slow it down some." 

"Once this thing gets in your blood..." Ballard said and stopped. 
"You have to be brought up in it to enjoy." 

The trustees are planning a general cleanup at the campground June 
27. According to Ballard, this will be the first step in preparing for this 
year's campmeeting, which begins with a singing on Aug. 1. The meet- 
ing will last nine days, concluding with "Big Sunday" services on Aug. 
9. 

In addition, the trustees are trying to take steps to prevent further 
fires at the historic meeting site. 

"We have suggested to the owners that are rebuilding that they build 
a cement block wall on one side of their tent or use sheet-rock inside," 
says trustee Jerry Dellinger. 

"If everyone would do that, " adds Ballard, "it would be hard to burn 
it (the campground) down." 

211 



1981 



The trustees are also planning to employ a full-time guard at the 
campground. At a special meeting Saturday, they voted to provide free 
housing to a law enforcement officer who would live at the campground 
to keep unwanted visitors away during the year when the campground 
isn't being used. They are presently working with Lincoln County Sher- 
iff Harven Crouse to get someone for the job. 

"Just seeing a police car or knowing that someone is there would 
scare trespassers away" says Ballard. 



212 




213 




Rebuilding Begins - foe King of Denver has been attending campmeeting at Rock Spring 

Campground for as long as he can remember, and he isn't going to let a fire which 
destroyed the family tent, originally built by his grandfather, cause him to miss the week- 
long festivities this August. King and a number of other tenters have begun rebuilding their 
burned-out structures. Note the charred remains of another burned tent in the background. 




Bill Ballard constructs a firewall 



214 



1981 



Campmeeting Faithful Gathering 

July 29 (Wednesday) - The annual session of the campmeeting opens 
this weekend and many of the faithful have already moved into the 
wooden structures called tents, which will serve as their homes during 
the week-long gathering. 

The campmeeting doesn't officially begin until Sunday morning, 
but singing programs are scheduled for Friday and Saturday evenings. 
Friday will feature local talent with such groups as the Long Island 
Sounds, the Turbyfield Singers, The Gospel Starlight Singers and the 
Fairfield United Methodist Church Choir. 

Saturday evening the campground arbor will echo with the sounds 
of The Virginians from Roanoke, VA, the Pilgrims Quartet horn Lincoln- 
ton, the Winkler's Grove Quartet horn Hickory and the Harmony Four 
horn Winston-Salem. 

Worship, the central purpose of the campmeeting, will begin with a 
Sunday School service at 9 a.m. August 2. The first worship hour with 
guest speaker Jack Cook will follow at 11 a.m. Cook, a Methodist minis- 
ter, is a company chaplain for Carolina Freight Carriers. 

The week-long series of evening worship meetings will begin Sun- 
day at 8 p.m. Rev. Joe Ervin, pastor of the Boger City United Methodist 
Church, will deliver the evening messages. 

Beginning Monday morning and continuing through Friday, a 
children's hour will be offered at 10 a.m. by Rosa Cosby, a teacher from 
Rock Spring Elementary School. Mrs. Cosby is also a regular Sunday 
School teacher at the Denver United Methodist Church. 

In addition, a youth session with Tim Rogers, a youth worker with 
the Rock Spring United Methodist Charge, will follow each evening's 
worship service beginning Monday. 

Then on "Big Sunday" Aug. 9, the campmeeting will conclude with 
another Sunday School and morning worship service. 

"I'm amazed at how the people go to church out here," says camp- 

215 



1981 



ground pastor Roy Eubanks. "Everything is built around worship." 

He says that people today stop their work just like those first farm- 
ers did to come out to the campground to worship and fellowship with 
one another. 

For many, campmeeting means even more. It's a family tradition 
passed down to each generation. Those persons have special memories 
of past meetings. 

Jerry Dellinger of Denver remembers an incident which happened 
not too many years ago, but which changed his life. 

"I met my wife there," he says. "I was just walking around the camp- 
ground like everybody does during the day, and one of her friends intro- 
duced me to her." 

And, of course, everyone remembers attending worship on those 
hot August nights in the open-air arbor and the sounds of rain on the 
tin roofs of the tents. 

"I remember a few years ago," says Rev. Eubanks, "it seemed like 
every night we had these real severe thunderstorms - lightning cracking 
all around. One time I looked out across the campground (from the 
arbor) and saw people coming from all directions, rain coming down, 
lightning cracking, thunder roaring. I was amazed." 

Time for Tatting 
Jeffrey Burris, 8, and Wendy Mayhew, 

7 , seeing through the hot afternoon 

while other members of their families 

seek the shade of the tent porch. These 

two families are among many that 

have already moved into the 

campground in preparation for the 

annual campmeeting, which kicks off 

this weekend. 




216 



1981 



Last Minute Rebuilding 



July 31 (Friday) - Standing 3 feet away, you could hardly hear Roland 
Ballard, 67, as he reminisced about campmeetings. 

Nearby, half a dozen hammers clattered. Power saws whined. 

The venerable, 152-year-old Rock Spring Campground, charred by 
fire twice this year, was undergoing a last minute facelift, as dozens of 
people prepared for the Rock Spring Campmeeting, the granddaddy of 
all meetings in the Piedmont. It starts tonight with a gospel singing, 
and the preaching, praying and socializing will last until Aug. 9. 

Ballard, an Iron Station builder, said he spent roughly $3500 re- 
building his family's 100-year-old tent, destroyed in the April fire. 

"What really hurt was there was a big oak tree - it'd take two people 
to reach around it - in front of my tent, and it got burned and died," he 
recalled. "I replaced the tent, but I can't replace the tree." 

In his 67 years, Ballard has missed only one campmeeting, because 
his father was sick. Ballard said he thinks both fires this year were set. 

"It was just meanness," he said. "Pure meanness. They ought to hang 
the man that burned it." 

Even so, Ballard said he's surprised there have been so few fires. The 
campground is vacant except during the summer meeting, and in re- 
cent years the vacant campground has attracted people who use drugs 
or take their dates there. The sheds generally have straw on the floors, 
which could easily catch fire from a careless cigarette. 

"I believe the Lord had something to do with keeping it from burn- 
ing down," he said. 

The Rev. Roy Eubanks of Denver, pastor of the Rock Spring Charge 
of the United Methodist Church and host pastor of the campmeeting, 
said the campmeeting will start at 7:30 p.m. with several local gospel 
groups performing. The meetings will continue through the 11 a.m. 
worship service Aug. 9. 

Eubanks said some of the campers won't be back this year. Others, 

217 



1981 



who have rebuilt their tents, have told him they were going to try one 
more time. 

"You may have one or two throw in the towel, so to speak," Eubanks 
said, "but most of them are rebuilding. It's in their blood, friend." 




Roland Ballard saws boards for new tent 



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219 



1981 



Campmeeting in Full Swing 

August 5 (Wednesday) - The 152nd annual session of the Rock 
Spring Campmeeting is in full swing this week and according to the 
Rev. Roy Eubanks, pastor of the campground, attendance seems to be 
"holding up." 

"We've had good attendance," says Eubanks, explaining that the 
arbor, a centrally-located open-air meeting place at the campground, 
was full for the singing services which opened the week-long religious 
gathering Friday and Saturday. 

"We had about 300 Sunday night and about 250 Monday evening," 
adds Eubanks. He says an additional 75 to 100 youth attended special 
services each evening. 

Things have changed at the campground, says Minnie Sherrill, who 
has attended campmeeting for the past 71 years. 

"The people's dried up," she says. "I can tell you when we had good 
preaching down here and had shouting all over that arbor 50-60 years 
ago." 

Sherrill says in those days a person "could feel the power of God" 
throughout the campground. Today, she says, people come more to pic- 
nic. 

Flora Little, 83, of Davidson, another lifelong tenter, agrees, but puts 
most the blame on the nearby Lake Norman. 

"That lake was the ruination of campmeeting," says Mrs. Little. 



220 




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Tenting - Martha Sherrill (center) and children Jeffrey, 8, and Kerri, 10, know that there's 

more to tenting at Rock Spring Campground than singing, preaching and eating. Here the 

Sherrills are busy cleaning their tent just in case neighbors want to drop by to visit during 

the hot afternoon while things are moving slow at the campground. 






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222 



Saturday night singing 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1981 

CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1981: 



2-5-81 


Jones Fish Camp 


$76.55 




5-31-81 


Lincoln Times (ads) 


7.14 




5-31-81 


Denver Plumbing Company 


595.00 




6-2-81 


Lincoln limes (ads) 


30.94 




7-9-81 


Dysart Well & Pump 


2753.61 




7-9-81 


Lincoln limes 


21.42 




7-23-81 


Southern Llectric 


357.54 




8-1-81 


Tom Little (labor S materials) 


280.00 




8-3-81 


Elliott Painter (bulldozing) 


154.00 




8-3-81 


John Sherrill (lights) 


100.00 




8-2-81 


Larry Sherrill (lights & materials) 


198.00 




8-8-81 


Joe Erwin (preacher) 


330.00 




8-8-81 


Harold Redman (song leader) 


220.00 




8-8-81 


Leigh Ann Johnson (pianist) 


104.00 




8-8-81 


Carolyn Howard (pianist) 


22.00 




8-8-81 


Rosa Cosby (children) 


165.00 




8-8-81 


Tim Rogers (youth) 


165.00 




8-8-81 


Roy Eubanks (preacher) 


220.00 




8-8-81 


L.L. Keever (Stone) 


355.99 




8-8-81 


John Rosenboro (garbage) 


350.00 




8-9-81 


Baucom Radio & Sound 


240.00 




8-9-81 


Lincoln County Sheriff Dept. 


1000.00 




8-9-81 


D.L. Fortenberry (toilets) 


100.00 




8-9-81 


J.W. Sigmon (straw) 


100.00 




8-9-81 


Harold Harwell 


25.00 




8-13-81 


Duke Power Company 


122.04 




8-13-81 


Cresent Electric Company (materials) 


275.50 




8-13-81 


Jack Cook (preacher) 


40.00 




8-20-81 


B.S. Sherrill (labor) 


247.50 




8-20-81 


Inez K. Sherrill (tent tax) 


165.00 




8-20-81 


Johnson Piano Company 


223.60 




8-25-81 


Southern Electric 


17.95 




9-5-81 


Claremont Whse. Building & Supply- 


230.71 




9-5-81 


Duke Power Company 


527.74 




9-21-81 


Denver Electric Company 


56.50 




10-7-81 


Claremont Whse. Building & Supply 


17.47 




11-5-81 


Dailey's Carpet Cleaners (trailer) 


60.00 




11-24-81 


Denver Electric Company 


56.50 




12-9-81 


Denver Plumbing Company 


207.45 




12-23-81 


Callaway's Homes (rent on trailer) 


425.00 




12-31-81 


Duke Power Company (trailer) 


71.39 






Disbursements: $10,759.04 




BALANCE 1981 




$3,831.66 


Withdrew from savings 




+6.098.44 








$9,930.10 


DEPOSITS 






+ 14.088.45 
$24,018.55 


DISBURSEMENTS 




-10,759.04 


BALANCE 1981 




$13,259.51 



223 



Arbor Collections for 1981 



DAY 


AMOUNT 


Sat. 


$41.10 (Balance after paying singers) 


Sun. a.m. 


$618.59 


Sun. p.m. 


$150.55 


Mon. 


$107.41 


Tue. 


$117.92 


Wed. 


$148.71 


Thu. 


$237.97 


Fri. 


$277.08 


Sat. 


$394.01 


Sun. 


$1,438.16 


TOTAL: 


$3,531.50 



NOTE: The offering Big Sunday 1981 was the first time an offering 
ever reached or exceeded $1000, based on available records. 



224 



1982 

Trustees Meet 

February 24 - Trustees met with all present at Jones Fish Camp. 
Financial report was presented. 

Generation Inspired at Rock Spring 

July 30 (Friday) - The 153rd annual session of the Rock Spring Camp- 
meeting gets underway this weekend in Denver, with gospel singing 
programs tonight and Saturday night and the first preaching Sunday 
morning. 

Campmeeting continues through all of next week, climaxing with 
the morning services on "Big Sunday" Aug. 8. 

Many of the regulars have been staying at the campground for sev- 
eral days now, getting an early start on the socializing, eating and relax- 
ing that is one part of the gathering's attraction. 

When Sam Moore was 5 months old, his parents brought him to 
the Rock Spring Campmeeting in a covered wagon. 

Friday, Moore, who is now a spry 71 years old, left for the camp- 
ground horn his house near Stanley, 17 miles away, on a sassy, sleek- 
looking motorcycle. Moore was not about to miss a campmeeting. 

"It's a good tradition," said the Rev. Hal Peacock, who heads the 
Rock Spring charge of the United Methodist Church. "These people have 
come to the meetings every summer of their lives. They would be lost 
without it. It gives them a sense of roots and identity - who they are and 
where they came from." 

"Oh gee, how could you describe this place to someone who has 
never been here?" mused Shirley Ballard, 41, of Huntersville. 

"It's just that if you don't feel a closeness to God when you sit un- 
der that arbor at a worship service, or when you're sitting in front of 

225 



1982 



your tent watching the sunrise, then you never will. I guess this is about 
the closest thing to Heaven there is." 

Moore showed a visitor the beams in his tent, which were taken 
from a house in the area built 183 years ago. He recalled that when he 
was 14, he was converted during a sermon under the arbor. 

"It's the singing - all the good singing out under the arbor," he said 
when asked why he continues to come back year after year. "And the 
preaching - Praise the Lord - whoo-o-o-o-o-o, it's good." 

The preacher for this year will be Rev. Chris Fitzgerald of the Rosman 
United Methodist Charge near Asheville. The host minister is Rev. Hal 
Peacock. 

While it's the first session for the two ministers to have official du- 
ties, both have ties with campmeeting. Fitzgerald's father is a former 
pastor of the Rock Spring Charge, and Fitzgerald attended campmeet- 
ings with his family. Peacock's father was the preacher at campmeeting a 
few years ago. 

Following is the schedule for this year's session: 

Tonight and Saturday night: singing programs at 7:15. 

Sunday: Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. led by Gordon Drum. Worship 
services at 1 1 a.m. led by Rev. Peacock. Evening worship at 8 led by Rev. 
Fitzgerald. 

Monday-Friday: Children's hour at 10 a.m. led by Rosa Cosby. Wor- 
ship at 8 p.m. led by Rev. Fitzgerald. Youth sessions at 9 p.m. led by his 
wife, Mary. 

Saturday, Aug. 7: Evening worship only, at 8. 

Sunday, Aug. 8: Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. led by Rev. Jack Knoespel, 
pastor of the Denver-Lebanon Charge. Worship at 1 1 a.m. led by Rev. 
Fitzgerald. 



226 






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228 




A Seat in the Shade 

Clayton Howard, along with sisters Annie White and Margie Hannah, prepare 

a seat in the shade at their Rock Spring Campground tent. Howard and his 

sisters have been attending the annual campmeeting for more than 60 years. 



229 



1982 



Arbor Collections for 1982 



DAY 


AMOUNT 


Sat. 


$24.82 (Balance after paying singers) 


Sun. A.M. 


$824.78 


Sun. P.M. 


$146.40 


Mon. 


$113.54 


Tue. 


$134.60 


Wed. 


$313.16 


Thu. 


$188.14 


Fri. 


$164.00 


Sat. 


$322.96 


Sun. 


$1074.96 


TOTAL: 


$3,307.36 



230 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1982 



Duke Power Company (trailer) $72.23 

Puke Power Company ( ") 115.60 

Duke Power Company ( " ) 67.97 

Robinson Concrete Company 125.42 

Dysart Well & Pump 20.00 

Mooresville Elect . & Motor Service 60.20 

Barry Beatty (painting shack) 470.00 

Sigmon Hardware 238.89 

Denver Welding & Machine Shop 8 1 .00 

W.C. Ballard (supplies) 45.00 

Hal Peacock (Jones' feeding preachers) 24.00 

Harold Redmon (song leader) 240.00 

Leigh Ann Johnston (pianist) 120.00 

Carolyn Howard ( " ) 20.00 

Gordon Drum (S.S. teacher) 20.00 

Jack Knoespel (S.S. teacher) 20.00 

Rosa Cosby (children) 175.00 

Mary Fitzgerald (youth) 175.00 

Chris Fitzgerald (minister) 350.00 

Lee Fortenberry (labor, toilets) 202.00 

Hal Peacock (charge minister) 250.00 

Baucom Radio & Sound 250.00 

John Rosenboro (garbage) 300.00 

Sheriff's Department 1070.00 

J.W. Sigmon (labor) 100.00 

L.L. Keever Company (gravel) 365.41 

Finger's Hardware (keys) 4.20 

Claremont Whse. Supplies 98.63 

Duke Power Company (campground) 224.92 

Inez K. Sherrill (collecting tent tax) 250.00 

B.S. Sherrill (lights, labor) 225.00 

B.S. Sherrill (straw) 19.00 

Johnson Piano Exchange (piano) 223.60 

Callaway Homes, Inc. ( rent on trailer) 825.00 

Duke Power Company (campground) 527.84 

Denver Plumbing Company (pipe) 40.00 

Lineberger Mobile Home Service (trailer) 454.00 

Disbursements: $8,047.40 

BALANCE 1981 $13,259.51 

DEPOSITS in 1982 11.925.55 

$25,214.76 
CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1982 -8.047.40 

BALANCE IN BANK AS OF DECEMBER 1982 $17,167.36 



231 



1983 

Campmeeting is a-Coming 

July 26 - It's hard to believe that campmeeting time is almost upon 
us again! Last year at this time I was still a bit bewildered about what to 
expect at campmeeting, but I found it to be a thrilling experience to be 
cherished, both as a unique opportunity for fellowship and spiritual 
renewal. 

This year bewilderment is replaced with a sense of excitement and 
anticipation. The 154th session of the Rock Spring Campmeeting has 
all the ingredients to be one of the best ever. 

Our guest preacher will be the Rev. Vance Love of the Dellwood/ 
Shady Grove United Methodist Charge in Maggie Valley, NC. Vance is a 
graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and was a classmate of mine at Duke Di- 
vinity School. We will all be blessed by God through his preaching 
throughout the week. 

Rev. Roy Eubanks 



232 



SCHEDULE FOR 1983 



Fri. Aug. 5 
Sat. Aug. 6 
Sun. Aug. 7 



7:00 p.m. 
7:00 p.m. 
9:45 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 

3:00 p.m. 

7:00 p.m. 

8:00 p.m. 

10:00 a.m. 
7:00 p.m. 
8:00 p.m. 

9:15 p.m. 
10:00 a.m. 
7:00 p.m. 
8:00 p.m. 

10:00 a.m. 
7:00 p.m. 
8:00 p.m. 

9:15 p.m. 
10:00 a.m. 
7:00 p.m. 
8:00 p.m. 

10:00 a.m. 
7:00 p.m. 
8:00 p.m. 

9:15 p.m. 



Sat. Aug. 13 7:00 p.m. 
8:00 p.m. 

Sun. Aug. 14 9:45 a.m. 
11:00 a.m. 



Mon. Aug. 8 



Tue. Aug. 9 



Wed. Aug 10 



Thu. Aug. 11 



Fri. Aug. 12 



Community Gospel Sing 

Professional Gospel Sing 

Sunday School: Gordon Drum, teacher 

Worship: Rev. Joe Irvin, preacher 

Special Music: Bethel 

Youth Campolympics 

Homemade Ice Cream 

Campmeeting Choir Practice, Harold Redmon, 

Director 

Worship: Rev. Vance Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Webbs 

Children's Hour: Camilla Phillips, Coordinator 

Choir Practice 

Worship: Rev. Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Denver 

Youth Sing-a-long and Talent Night 

Children's Hour 

Choir Practice 

Worship: Rev. Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Hill's Chapel 

Children's Hour 

Choir Practice 

Worship: Rev. Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Lebanon 

Youth Concert with special guest Mart Christy 

Children's Hour 

Choir Practice 

Worship: Rev. Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Salem 

Children's Hour 

Choir Practice 

Worship: Rev. Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Fairfield 

Youth Communion Service: Special Guest Rev. Bobby 

Nations (Former Duke football player) 

Special Music: Lori Howard 

Choir Practice 

Worship: Rev. Lowe, Preacher 

Special Music: Gaither Lawing 

Sunday School: Rev. Jack Knoespel, Teacher 

Worship: Rev. Vance Lowe, Preacher 



233 




Sunday morning worshippers 




St. fames Male Chorus from Mecklenburg County at Friday service under the arbor 



234 



1983 



Camp Arbor Busy Again 



The grounds were serene and the tents deserted, but the solitude of 
a few campers milling about Rock Spring Campground most evenings 
last week was only a prelude for the weekend. 

By 8 p.m. Friday August 5, scores of worshippers had arrived to clap 
their hands and tap their feet to the gospel music that filled the air at 
the oldest religious camp in the United States. 

But it was Saturday before the multitudes turned out. 

"You're friends with everybody, whether you know them or not," 
said a Mecklenburg County man who's been going to Rock Spring al- 
most as long as he can remember. 

Saturday night and Sunday services draw "the biggest crowd you'll 
ever see," said J.W. Sigmon, a Denver man who wouldn't miss a year at 
Rock Spring. 

"I've saved my vacation all year for this," said his wife, Vannie. "You 
have to be raised on this to really love it." 

The Sigmons have been tenting for the last 32 years at Rock Spring, 
each summer for two weeks. Like others who tent, the Sigmons do with- 
out most modern conveniences while they rest, relax and worship. 

When a family can't make it one year, they might rent their tent to 
someone who can. Rates go as high as $500 for the two weeks, said Ann 
Keener, a Lincoln County historian. 

"They're really at a premium," she said. 

In the old days, Mrs. Keener said, campers came purely for the re- 
vival spirit of Rock Spring. 

And even though that religious flavor remains strong, some camp- 
ers have found new meanings in the summer meetings. 

"They come as much now for vacation and to visit with family and 
friends as they do for the religion," Mrs. Keener said. 

"The first week we just have fellowship and a good time because 
everybody's not moved in yet," Mrs. Sigmon said. "We see friends we 

235 



1983 



only see once a year." 

Some of the tents now have indoor bathrooms; others hold onto 
past traditions such as keeping their floors covered with hay. 

"We don't want a cement floor. I come out here so I don't have to 
do a lot of work. Besides, the hay floor's a tradition and we don't want to 
change that," Mrs. Sigmon said. 

"There was a good crowd here last night. I'd say about 2500," said 
Terry Brotherton Sunday afternoon. 

Brotherton, a regular at campmeetings, operates the campground 
store. He says it's not surprising to see so many people attend the singings 
which traditionally open the week-long religious event. 

"You have to remember, you've got 300 tents out here," he says. 
"You'd see four or five people at every tent... and that don't include the 
ones who come in (just for the services)." 

George and Polly Hoyle of Lincolnton will stand witness to 
Brotherton's words. Each August for the past 45 years, the Hoyles have 
made their way to Lincoln County's eastern edge to attend a week of 
preaching, singing and socializing beneath the 150-year-old arbor which 
stands at the center of the campground's circle of wooden tents. 

Lounging in the shade of their tent Sunday afternoon, the Hoyles 
were joined by their son Rick and his wife and son. In addition, Mrs. 
Hoyle's sister, Sue Sherrill and another woman, Jo Ann Stowe, were vis- 
iting the campground. It was a scene repeated time and time again 
throughout the encampment. 

Polly Hoyle agreed with Brotherton's estimate of Saturday evening's 
crowd. She added that Sunday morning services drew almost as many 
people. 

"Things don't really get going around here until the sun goes down," 
says Brotherton. "That's when people go to wandering around visiting 
one another. It's really something to see." 

236 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1983 

Jones Fish Camp (trustees) $ 1 10.72 

Cherry Landscaping &: Grading 120.00 

D.L. Fortenberry (paper supplies for bathrooms) 25.00 

Layton Hilsinger (cutting tree) 500.00 

Lineberger Mobile Home Service (trailer) 20.00 

Southern Elec. Service 139.69 

Jerry Sigmon (lock for spring) 7.00 

Johnson Piano Company (piano) 210.10 

U.S. Post Office (stamps)' 4.00 

J.W. Sigmon (labor) 135.00 

Harold Redmon (song leader) 240.00 

Leigh Ann Johnston (pianist) 150.00 

Amy Dellinger (pianist) 40.00 

Gordon Drum (S.S. teacher) 20.00 

Jack Knoespel (S.S. teacher) 20.00 

Camilla Phillips (children) 175.00 

Mack Christy (youth) 25.00 

Charles McLawhorn (auctioneer-tent 203-10%) 285.00 

Vance Lowe (guest minister) 350.00 

Bobby Nations (youth) 25.00 
Fast Lincoln Rescue Squad 

Hal Peacock (charge minister) 250.00 

Hal Peacock (feeding guest ministers) 31.98 

Denver Plumbing Company 200.00 

Denver Fire Dept. 50.00 

Kerby J. Hovis (tuning piano) 13.50 

Baucom Radio & Sound (speakers) 300.00 

Lincoln County Sheriff's Dept. 1365.00 

John Rosenboro (garbage) 300.00 

D.L. Fortenberry (supplies-bathrooms) 192.25 

Inez K. Sherrill (collecting tent tax) 250.00 

Cherry Landscaping (gravel) 2430.00 

Lineberger Mobile Home Service (trailer) 25.00 

Lincoln Times News (ads) 5.80 

Claremont Whse. Building Supply 229.49 

Duke Power Company 123.35 

B.S. Sherrill (lights) ' 225.00 

Claremont Whse. Building Supply 27.39 

Duke Power Company 665.13 

$9,305.40 

Check book charge 14.42 

$9,319.82 

BALANCE 1982 $17,167.36 

-9,319.82 

$7.847.54 

DEPOSITS IN 1983: $ 1 1 ,292.48 

BALANCE IN BANK AS OF DECEMBER 1983 $19,140.42 

237 



1984 

Trustees Discuss County Water 

March 1 - Meeting of trustees, Jones Fish Camp. Present: Hal Pea- 
cock, Joe Ervin, Dwight Callaway, Jerry Sigmon, B.S. Sherrill, Bill Ballard, 
Loy McConnell and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Dwight Callaway reported information about new county water line. 
Bill Ballard stated new 2" line was being constructed for campground. 
Discussed making arrangements to have water from old spring, but not 
to be connected to county line. Dwight Callaway was requested to con- 
tact authorities about meter, etc., for new line. Bill Ballard to contact 
Russell Dellinger to see if county commissioners would run line for fire 
hydrant near arbor. 

Hal Peacock asked about using arbor for Hwy. 16 Ministries bicen- 
tennial celebration on May 20. Permission granted. 

Bill Ballard stated new line and campground materials would run 
about $6000 plus labor. 

B.S. Sherrill presented annual financial report. 

Annual meeting set for 4 p.m., first Sunday in May. 



238 



1984 



Campmeeting in Progress 

Campmeeting - a tradition rich in heritage, a source of spiritual re- 
newal, a time for reacquaintance. 

"That's what it's all about," said Rev. Hal Peacock, who is serving as 
this year's minister of the 155th Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

"Oh come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to 
the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanks- 
giving and make joyful noise unto Him with psalms. ..Oh, come let us 
worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker...," said 
Rev. Peacock as he read from Psalm 95 in his sermon opening the second 
night of campmeeting under the arbor nestled amid a grove of oaks and 
surrounded by a quadrangle of wooden tents. 

The reverend spoke to a crowd of approximately 1,500 spectators 
gathered Saturday night under and around the camp arbor to hear a 
gospel singing featuring the Singing Jones Family, The Virginians and 
the Singing Whisnants. 

And they sang. 

Many in the crowd joined in; some gave shouts of joy and hallelu- 
jahs, and others fanned off the humid temperatures of the hot August 
night. 

All around the arbor was a hubbub of activity. 

Myrtle Newton of Denver, who has been coming to campmeeting 
all of her life, was busy rolling "elephant ears," a sweet-tasting blob of 
fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar made only at the camp- 
ground "shack." 

Terry Brotherton paid rent to operate the shack, the camp's conces- 
sion stand and open-aired gift shop. 

"I imagine there are a couple of thousand people here tonight," 
Brotherton said as 10 of his workers hustled to meet the needs of their 
hot and thirsty customers. 

When everyone's gone, that's when the snakes move back in. But 

239 



1984 



they leave before everyone comes back. 

"I guess they can't take the competition," says Inez Sherrill, whose 
husband B.S. Sherrill, Jr., is treasurer of the Rock Spring board of trust- 
ees. 

The Sherrills, residents of Huntersville, have owned Tent 13, the tax 
tent, for 20 years. Their tent escaped the last fire which swept the camp- 
ground. Blazes came right up to Tent 13 and were controlled, Mrs. Sherrill 
said. 

Mrs. Sherrill says life as the camp treasurer's wife is too confining 
and she hopes his stretch as money collector will soon be over. Sherrill 
inherited the treasurer post from his father, B.S. Sherrill. But his sons 
haven't shown much interest in taking over the job. Nevertheless, the 
Sherrill children and grandchildren keep coming back to campmeeting 
with their parents each year. 

What brings folks back over and over again? 

"When you come all your life, it's just the thing to do," said Sherrill's 
daughter, Lynn Morrow of Stanley. 

For 65 years, Aunt Georgianna has been coming back to camp, wait- 
ing anxiously throughout the year for the day to come when she can 
ride up the road from Charlotte admiring the beautiful crepe myrtles in 
Lincoln County. 

Known by all tenters who have met her as "Grandma" or "Aunt 
Georgianna," Georgianna Howard, 94, missed two years of campmeet- 
ing because of a polio epidemic and an outbreak of meningitis that can- 
celled the gathering. 

"I come to see all of my people. I know everybody here," said Mrs. 
Howard. 

She keeps a register for everyone to sign when they visit her tent. 
The register contained more than 500 signatures from last year's camp- 
meeting. 

240 



1984 



That's easy to believe when you see the pathways between the rows 
of tents at about 10 p.m. It resembles the state fair with children eating 
cotton candy caps exploding and the smell of sawdust thrown along 
the passages. 

The pleasant hum of voices lulls most campers to sleep, says Mrs. 
Sherrill. 

"Up here's the best sleeping around." Others keep on talking until 
Big Sunday rolls around on Aug. 12. 

Big Sunday is the day everyone looks forward to with a sense of joy 
and a sense of sadness, according to Rev. Peacock. "That's the day we 
have to say good-bye." 

Tent Tax was $35.00 in 1984. 



241 




Mrs. Gladys Barker of Davidson and Mrs. 

Blanche Barker of Denver enjoy relaxing on 

the front porch of their campmeeting tent. 







Mrs. Fannie Nixon, now a resident of a 

Lincoln County nursing home, was 

brought back for one night of visiting with 

old friends. 




Terry Brotherton has been operating "The 

Shack" for seven years on the grounds at 

Rock Spring. 



Tent No. 1, the oldest tent built originally 

by "Uncle Freeman Kelly, " burned in one 

of the 1982 fires. It has now been rebuilt 

and is owned by W. Blair Abemathy. 



242 




Charlotte's mayor, Eddie Knox, joined Wanda Jones, at left, and Marie Jones, at right, (of 

the Jones Family Singers) underneath the arbor at Rock Spring Campmeeting on Saturday 

night for the Gospel Sing which drew an attendance of more than 2,000 persons. 




George (Heck) McAlister of Cornelius, Sam Moore of Stanley, and James 
Hacks of Huntersville swing and talk to visitors at Rock Spring. 



243 



1984 



Campmeeting Starts at Rock Spring 

The "big singing" at Rock Spring Campground in Denver was held 
last Saturday night. "Big Sunday" is on the 14th. And, of course, this 
week is the "big week." 

Even though some tenters moved in ahead of time, the activities of 
the Methodist gathering did not actually start until this past weekend. 

The "big singing" on Saturday night drew an estimated 2,000 per- 
sons to the benches under the arbor and in folding chairs surrounding 
the wooden structure. 

Annie Faye Nelson of the Gilead community remembered that her 
father, Frank Houser, paid the sum of one dollar for the ownership of 
the tent which she and her family now use. 

Mrs. Gladys Barker, of Highway 73 East outside of Davidson, was 
relaxing on a porch with Mrs. Blanche Barker of Denver on Saturday as I 
strolled the grounds. Eighty-four year-old Blanche Barker told me she 
remembered carrying water up the steep hill from the spring. 

Sam Moore of Stanley, whose tent was burned in the historic fire of 
October 30, 1973, that destroyed 89 tents, rebuilt by mixing handhewn 
logs from an old house with new materials. Mr. Moore told me he was 
"brought to campmeeting in a covered wagon in 1911." 

Others remember how it was in the first part of this century. Mrs. 
Fannie Sherrill Nixon is now 81 and lives in a Lincoln County nursing 
home. Her family, however, brought her down to spend one night at 
campmeeting. Although she has trouble with her vision, her voice was 
clear as she reminisced about her early days at Rock Spring. 

She was the youngest of ten children of Burgin and Lillie Hager 
Sherrill. As tenters back then, they "cooked over an open fire." The smell 
of country ham frying still permeates the tents as you walk by. And it 
must have smelled good as they cooked it outside in those days. 

"Live chickens," said Miss Fannie, "were kept in a wire coop out 
back until people started stealing them... then we brought them inside 

244 



1984 



the tent." 

"Later," she said, "some tenters built something on the back of the 
building just for cooking." 

Terry Brotherton, shack operator for the seventh year, said night- 
time would bring a flurry of business, although a few stragglers were 
dropping by all during the day. Harold Harwell was selling cotton candy 
in the shack, and his father, Ray Harwell, was sitting on a stool chop- 
ping onions. Both said they had been in this sort of business for a long 
time. 

To me, it's just like a big family reunion and, while watching the 
Heck McAlisters, the Sam Moores, and so many others, I realized that 
you don't have to be kin to one another to enjoy this family reunion. 

It's a tradition - family reunion or whatever you want to call it - 
that's sure to be around for a long time. 

Frances Hampton 



245 




Readying for Camp 

Claude Carpenter ofLincolnton is busy readying the Carpenter tent for his family and 

great-grandsons, Pappin and Lynn, who came all the way from Florida to attend the 155th 

Rock Spring Campmeeting. The twins have been coming to campmeeting for 12 years. 

When religious services are over, they enjoy going to the lake to laze away the day. 



246 



1984 



Rock Spring Brings Them Back 

Some things never change - Rock Spring Campground being one of 
them. Beginning Aug. 3 through Aug. 12 this year will mark the 155th 
year of doing the same thing at the Rock Spring Campmeeting - uphold- 
ing tradition. 

For 75 years, campmeeting has been a tradition for Ouida Sigmon 
of Denver. Mrs. Sigmon has been at every campmeeting for all but one 
of her 76 years. 

"It's been a tradition in our family to go to campmeeting," she said. 
"Back then we didn't have money to vacation. So they started building 
on at the arbor and over the years added more and more." 

"Campmeeting holds a lot of identity for them. They go there and 
remember who they are. It's their past," Rev. Peacock said. 

"They like to keep things pretty much the same but they will have 
city water this year. That's been the biggest project this year," said Rev. 
Peacock. 

Bill Ballard, chairman of the Rock Spring Campground board of trust- 
ees, estimated the cost of the water hookups to be $10,000. 

Ballard, a lifelong tenter himself, said 50 or more tents have been 
built in the past few years because of destruction done by fires. 

Tent lots sell for more than $2,000, according to Ballard; however, 
the purchase of a lot only provides the tent owner with the privilege to 
use the land. "They don't actually own the property," Ballard said. 

Ralph Carpenter of Lincolnton compared it to a reunion. "When 
campmeeting time rolls around, it's time to see old friends," he said. 

Rev. Peacock described the Rock Spring Campmeeting as a "unique 
experience." 

"It's hard to describe if you haven't been there," he explained. 

Having served as minister at Bethel and Webbs Chapel since 1982, 
Rev. Peacock said when he first moved to the Denver area, no one would 
tell him what campmeeting was like. "All they'd do was laugh. You just 

247 



1984 



have to experience it, is all I can say," he continued. 

"When I first went, I remember they walked and walked around 
and around in and out of the tents. Some must have walked 50 miles a 
night. There's a lot of country ham cooked up there and a lot of home- 
made ice cream." 

"The young people, that's what it's all about. They grow up and 
keep bringing their families back to campmeeting and it goes on and on 
and on," said Rev. Peacock. 



248 




So 

o 
o 






s 



&o © 

00 <-l 
On 5 
•1 5 



a 
O 



P 



249 




Aunt Georgianna 

Known to many as "Aunt Georgianna" and the "oldest lady on the campground," 

Georgianna Howard, 94, of Charlotte has been coming to the Rock Spring 

Campmeeting for 83 years. Long before campmeeting was to commence this year, Mrs. 

Howard impatiently asked her daughters, Betty Davis (left) and Leona Cherry, when 

she could move into her tent. 



250 




A Family Tradition 

Coming to Rock Spring Campmeeting is a family tradition for Hantersville resident and 

camp treasurer B.S. Sherrill, his wife Inez and their daughter Lynn Morrow (center) of 

Stanley. Each year along with the family comes Mrs. Sherrill's father's 35-year-old 

oscillating fan and the old trunk. The trunk makes a nice chair for Sherrill and his 

daughter, and people recognize the tent tax collector's tent by the large piece of antique 

furniture. 




At the Shack 
A favorite spot on the south side of the Rock Spring Campground is the "shack," where 

when campmeeting is in session, large crowds line up to buy soft drinks, food and 
novelties. Top sellers this year, said shack operator Terry Brotherton, were nachos covered 

with cheese and jalapeno peppers. 



251 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1984 

3-1-84 Jones Fish Camp (trustees) $102.85 

3-6-84 Lincoln County Water Dept. 100.00 

4-4-84 Denver Plumbing (pipe & materials for water systems 7,218.00 

4-4-84 Southern Elec. (fuse boxes for trailer) 291.48 

7-9-84 Robinson Concrete (pipe) 112.86 

7-9-84 Lincoln Times (adv.) 30.45 

8-10-84 Denver Plumbing (labor for water system) 3,235.00 

8-10-84 Denver Plumbing (3 loads gravel) 300.00 

8-10-84 Claremont Whse. (supplies) 60.62 

8-10-84 D.L. Fortenberry (labor - restrooms) 150.00 

8-10-84 Southern Elec. (switch boxes) 26.55 

8-11-84 Jones Fish Camp (preachers) 38.75 

8-11-84 Harold Redmon (song leader) 200.00 

8-11-84 Amy Dellinger (pianist) 200.00 

8-11-84 Gordon Drum (S.S. teacher) 20.00 

8-1 1-84 Jack Knoespel (1st Sunday preacher) 30.00 

8-11-84 Travis Stewart (S.S. teacher) 20.00 

8-11-84 Camilla Phillips (children) 200.00 

8-11-84 Benny Clodfelter (youth) 75.00 

8-11-84 Tom Sigmon (guest minister) 350.00 

8-12-84 Baucom Radio & Sound 350.00 

8-13-84 John Rosenboro (garbage) 300.00 

8-13-84 Hal Peacock (minister) 275.00 

8- 14-84 Duke Power Company 179.94 

8-14-84 Inez Sherrill (tent tax) 275.00 

8-14-84 B.S. Sherrill (lights & labor) 250.00 

8-14-84 Mike Sherrill (labor) 50.00 

8-18-84 Johnson Piano Company 235.13 

9-15-84 Lincoln County (water) 219.40 

9-15-84 Duke Power Company 732.31 

Lincoln County (Oct. Nov. Dec. water) 27.00 

$15,855.35 

BALANCE 1983 $19,140.02 

CHECKS 1984 -15.855.34 

$3,284.68 
DEPOSITS IN 1984: 12.077.99 

BALANCE IN BANK AS OF DECEMBER 1984 $15,362.67 



252 



Arbor Collections for 1984 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-4 


Sat. 


$61.59 (Balance after paying singers) 


8-5 


Sun. A.M. 


$836.40 


8-5 


Sun. P.M. 


$135.95 


8-6 


Mon. 


$114.07 


8-7 


Tue. 


$104.95 


8-8 


Wed. 


$128.55 


8-9 


Thu. 


$114.10 


8-10 


Fri. 


$133.81 


8-11 


Sat. 


$111.10 


8-12 
TOTAL 


Sun. 


$1093.49 
$2,834.01 



253 



1985 

Trustees Discuss Improvements 

March 14 - Trustees met at Jones Fish Camp. Present: D.B. Dellinger, 
Loy McConnell, Hal Peacock, B.S. Sherrill, Joe Ervin, Bill Ballard, Jerry 
Sigmon, Dwight Callaway, Jr., and H.A. Jonas, Jr. Wives were present by 
invitation. 

Annual meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. May 5, 1985, under arbor. 

Trustees discussed affairs of the campground. Considered possibil- 
ity of repairing and paving road around campground and fixing a line 
and spigot for water from spring. Hal Peacock reported on ministers and 
song leader, including idea of holding morning services during the week. 

B.S. Sherrill presented financial report for 1984. 



Trustees Hold Annual Meeting 

May 4 - Annual meeting under arbor. Present: Bill Ballard, Hal Pea- 
cock, Joe Ervin, B.S. Sherrill, H.A. Jonas, Jr., Jerry Sigmon, Jr., Wayne 
Dellinger, Dwight Callaway. 
Hal Peacock reported: 
Harold Bales, 1st Church Charlotte, to be preacher 
Tim Rogers, youth worker 
Will try local ministers for morning services 
Mr. Travis Stewart, Sunday School teacher 
Amy Dellinger, piano player 
June 29 agreed upon for work day. 

Bill Ballard asked B.S. Sherrill to take care of lights again, and to 
arrange to have several lights in parking lot. Dwight Callaway offered to 
furnish poles. 

Voted to authorize Loy McConnell to purchase piano. 
B.S. Sherrill to contract for loudspeakers. 

254 



1985 



Dwight Callaway suggested beautification program for campground. 
Resolved to have this our #1 priority, and to have professional drawing. 

Bill Ballard quoted price of $15,000 from Tommy Deal to pave road 
and campground. 

Jerry Sigmon moved to oil road and make it one-way from shack 
and toilets on north side. Motion was seconded and adopted. Dwight 
Callaway agreed to have road oiled. 

H.A. Jonas, Jr., elected secretary. 

B.S. Sherrill resigned as treasurer. Will help with lights this year. 
Jerry Sigmon put in charge of lights. 

Gary Holbrooks to serve as treasurer. 

Bill Ballard reelected mayor. 



Trustees to Discuss Refurbishing 

June 28 (Saturday) - Trustees of historic Rock Spring Campground 
today will discuss a plan for refurbishing the arbor area of the camp- 
meeting site. 

They will view a sketch of proposed landscaping which has been 
prepared by Midway Nursery of Newton, according to trustee Dwight 
Callaway, Jr., of Denver. (See diagram next page.) 

The proposal will be discussed during the annual workday for camp- 
ground tent-holders, which begins at 8 a.m., he said. 

The project calls for developing a community park in the quad- 
rangle area bounded by the campground's 225 tents, Callaway said. 

"Nothing has ever been done there," Callaway noted. "We're want- 
ing to landscape and sow some grass, initially. We want to make a park 
for this end of the county." 

255 



1985 



The sketch shows picnic tables, benches and fountains in the park 
area. A walking track on the inner edge of the tent quadrangle is also 
planned. 

Callaway added paving of the walking track and the road which 
runs outside the tents is the future goal. 

Pending approval of the trustees and interest of tent-holders, work 
could begin at the conclusion of the 156th annual session of campmeet- 
ing, which is scheduled August 2-11. 

Callaway said it would cost approximately $10,000 "to do (the re- 
furbishing) right," adding the money probably would be raised from 
donations by tent-holders. 

"The area is run down," said Bill Ballard of Denver, chairman of the 
trustees. "It hasn't been taken care of. It's something we should be proud 
of." 

Ballard said the trustees would seek input from tent-holders during 
campmeeting in August before proceeding with the project. 

Other trustees are Jerry Sigmon, Jerry Dellinger, Gary Holbrooks and 
Rev. Hal Peacock of Denver, Rev. Joe Ervin of Sherrills Ford, Dennis 
Dellinger of Lowesville, and Loy McConnell and Harvey Jonas, Jr., of 
Lincolnton. 

Peacock serves Bethel and Webbs Chapel United Methodist churches 
as minister of the Rock Spring Charge. He is responsible for coordinat- 
ing the campmeeting. 

"I think the idea is to make the area nicer, to make it possible to be 
used more by the community," Peacock said. "As it is, it is used only two 
to three weeks each summer and for a few family reunions. 



256 




Midway Nursery's sketch of a proposed community park in the arbor area of Rock Spring 

Campground 



257 



1985 



Campmeeting in Full Swing 

Campmeeting is in full swing at the Rock Spring Campground. Ac- 
cording to Reverend Hal Peacock, tenters and visitors alike are taking 
time out for the week-long revival. 

"We're having a good campmeeting," says Peacock, the minister in 
charge of the 156-year-old event. "We've had good crowds (for the daily 
worship)." 

Peacock says the nightly crowds attending service under the giant 
open-air arbor which stands at the middle of the campground are as 
good this year as last. He says many of those attending are day visitors, 
but quickly adds that the 225 wooden tents surrounding the arbor house 
families and friends who continue the tradition established in the early 
part of the 19th century. 

Peacock says he is "very pleased" with the way campmeeting is go- 
ing. He also says he is pleased with the extra attention the event is re- 
ceiving from the Western North Carolina Conference of the United 
Methodist Church. The conference sent a film crew to Rock Spring ear- 
lier this week to film footage from the annual gathering for a film show- 
ing the different outreach services in the conference. He says it is the 
first time, to his knowledge, that the church has recorded on film the 
week-long worship service. He hopes the film can capture the flavor for 
campmeeting. 

What makes campmeeting unique, according to Peacock, is the way 
it combines worship, family get-togethers, and renewed friendships into 
a spirit of revival which attracts worshippers year in and year out. It's an 
opinion shared by others who have attended the event. 

Ben Nixon is one such tenter. Nixon and his family spend camp- 
meeting week in the century-old tent his great-grandfather built. Lo- 
cated near the west entrance to the campground, the tent is one of the 
oldest standing buildings at the site. Built of handhewn timbers and 
rough-cut boards held together by wooden pegs, it has served Nixon's 

258 



1985 



family for more than four generations. Each year, the Nixons and friends 
gather at the tent to renew old friendships and to build new ones. 

Ella Gardner and Mary Watson are two more longtime campmeet- 
ing goers who look forward to gathering at the oak shaded grove during 
the first week of August. These two twin sisters, direct descendants of 
Mathias Mundy, the man who donated the land to establish the camp- 
ground, even plan their family reunion for the week preceding camp- 
meeting. 

"We had about 50 family members at our reunion this year," said 
Mrs. Gardner. "We had a really good time." 

But family get-togethers and renewed friendships are not the pri- 
mary purpose for campmeeting, and, according to Rev. Peacock, they 
are not the real reason for the continued success for the week-long event. 
Peacock says the real key to campmeeting is the worship. He says camp- 
meeting has always been popular with area youth. 

"Kids here mark time by campmeeting and Christmas," he says. 

The East Lincoln Band Boosters will provide concessions at the 
snackbar. 

N.C. Highway Patrolman Bill Brooks now lives on the campground 
to provide protection for the tents. 



259 



156th Annual Session 

The Rock Spring Campmeeting 

1985 



Minister in Charge: 
Rev. Hal Peacock, 
Rock Spring United Methodist Charge 

Campmeeting Choir Director: 
Neil Underwood, Choir Director 
Denver United Methodist Church 

Children's Director: 

Camilla Phillips, Children's Coordinator 
Webb's Chapel United Methodist Church 

Sunday School Teachers: 

Gordon Drum - 1st Sunday, Aug. 4 
Travis Stewart - 2nd Sunday, Aug. 1 1 



Guest Preacher: 

Rev. Harold K. Bales, 

First United Methodist Church-Charlotte 
Pianists: 

Sundays & Evenings - Amy Dellinger 

Weekday Mornings - Camilla Phillips 
Youth Director: 
Tim Rogers, Former Youth Minister of the Rock 

Spring United Methodist Charge 
Campground Trustees: 

Bill Ballard, Chairperson 

Gary Holbrooks, Treasurer 



Schedule 

Gospel Singing: 

Community Gospel Sing, featuring local area choirs, etc.: Friday, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m. 

Professional Gospel Sing, featuring "The Singingjones Family", "The Redeemed Quartet", "The 

Tower's Quartet", and "The Hayes Family": Saturday Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m. 
Sunday Mornings, Aug. 4 & 1 1: 

Sunday School - 10:00 a.m. 

Worship - 1 1:00 a.m. Preachers: Rev. Hal Peacock (1st Sunday), Rev. Harold Bales (2nd Sunday) 
Evening Worship Services: 

Sunday, Aug. 4 - Saturday, Aug. 10, 8:00 p.m. nightly 
Weekday Morning Worship Services: 

Monday, Aug. 5 - Friday, Aug. 9 1 1:30 a.m. daily 

Preaching schedule: Monday, Rev. Jack Knoespel (Denver/Lebanon UMC); Tuesday, Rev. Hubert 

Clinard (Hills Chapel UMC); Wednesday, Rev. Wayne Billings (Mt. Zion UMC - Cornelius); 

Thursday, Rev. Grady Barringer (Mt. Pleasant UMC); Friday, Rev. Coy Brown (First UMC - Mt. 

Holly) 
Children's Hour: 

Monday, Aug. 5 - Friday, Aug. 9, 10:00 a.m. daily. For children of all ages. 
Youth Activities: 

Monday, Aug. 5 - Friday, Aug. 9, 9:15 p.m. daily. Grades 7-12. 
Campmeeting Choir: 

Rehearsals at 7:00 p.m. nightly. Open to anyone who enjoys singing. 
Guest Choirs: 

1st Sunday morning, Bethel; 1st Sunday evening, Rehobeth; Monday evening, Hills Chapel; 

Tuesday evening, Webb's Chapel; Wednesday evening, Lebanon; Thursday evening, Salem; Friday 

evening, Mt. Pleasant. 



260 




261 



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— — . 






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in 

3. 



5 



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c 

3. 

r> 
B 

I 



>9 




262 



Georgianna Howard, 
unofficial matriarch of Rock 
Spring Campground, enjoys 
a peaceful moment with 
one of her great- 
grandchildren, also named 

Georgianna. Almost a 

century separates the two, 

but they seemed to get along 

together hist fine in the 

Howard family tent during 

the Saturday night singing. 

The elder Georgianna has 

been coming to the 

campmeeting at Rock 

Spring since 1901. 





263 




Ben Nixon, fifth from the left, and his family relax at the tent they have used for more 

than four generations. Joining Nixon are (left to right) DA. Livingston, Kay Nixon, Bobby 

Wilson, Erica Livingston, Nixon, Emily Gantt, Mike Grinavic, Donna Wilson and Casey 

Livingston. 




Sonny Armstrong, Jennifer Barker 

and Leslie Norton watch 

passersby stroll through the 

campground. 



264 




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c 


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Q 


o 


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^ 


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II 












265 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1985 



CHECKS WRITTEN IN 1985: 
Lincoln County - Water 
Jack Knoespel 
Hubert Clinard 
Wayne Billings 
Coy Brown 

Johnson Piano Exchange - Piano 
Hal Peacock - Jones Fish Camp 
V.A. Lineberger - Gravel 
V.A. Lineberger - Gravel 
Neil Underwood - Song Leader 
Amy Dellinger 
Gordon Dunn - S.S. Teacher 
Travis Stewart - S.S. Teacher 
Camilla Phillips - Pianist 
Jim Rogers - Youth 
Harold Bales - Guest Preacher 
Hal Peacock - Camp Minister 
Baucom Radio & Sound - Equip. 
Ronnie Sherrill - Labor 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Claremont Wholesale - Supplies 
Camilla Phillips - Supplies 
Duke Power - Power bill 
Johnny Roseboro 
Gary JJolbrooks - Coll. tent tax 
Bank Draft - Service charge 
J.W. Sigmon 
Duke Power - Power bill 
Finger Brothers 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Act III Skateland & Lawn Svc. - Cleanup 
Bank Draft - Service charge 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Duke Power - Power bill 
Bank Draft - Service charge 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Bank Draft - Service charge 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Bank Draft - Service charge 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Bank Draft - service charge 
Claremont Wholesale - Rd. tile 
Jones Fish Camp 
Cherry Landscaping 
Doug Hicks 

Lincoln County - Water bill 
Lincoln County - Water bill 
Bank Draft - service charge 
Carter Lumber 
Midway Nursery 

266 



7-23-85 


$9.00 


8-06-85 


30.00 


8-06-85 


30.00 


8-06-85 


30.00 


8-06-85 


30.00 


8-08-85 


1039.78 


8-08-85 


36.50 


8-08-85 


385.09 


8-08-85 


156.24 


8-09-85 


250.00 


8-09-85 


215.00 


8-09-85 


30.00 


8-09-85 


30.00 


8-09-85 


275.00 


8-09-85 


215.00 


8-09-85 


375.00 


8-09-85 


300.00 


8-11-85 


300.00 


8-12-85 


225.00 


8-12-85 


9.00 


8-12-85 


228.69 


8-12-85 


22.27 


8-12-85 


204.46 


8-12-85 


300.00 


8-15-85 


275.00 


8- -85 


19.08 


8-22-85 


322.50 


9-05-85 


391.73 


9-05-85 


70.00 


9-05-85 


195.76 


9-05-85 


30.00 


9- -85 


4.01 


10-01-85 


9.00 


10-21-85 


332.22 


10- -85 


.22 


11-16-85 


9.00 


11- -85 


.53 


12-19-85 


9.00 


12- -85 


.11 


1-07-86 


9.00 


1- -86 


.11 


3-12-86 


1978.13 


3-13-86 


83.85 


3-24-86 


117.55 


3-25-86 


175.00 


3-26-86 


9.00 


3-26-86 


9.00 


3- -86 


.69 


3-31-86 


212.97 


3-31-86 


380.95 



Midway Nursery 
Sigmon Hardware 
Demar Plumbing 



4-11-86 105.03 

4-15-86 165.00 

4-25-86 225.00 

Total Expenditures: $9865.47 



BEGINNING CASH BALANCE: 

DEPOSITS 

INTEREST EARNED 



$15,164.79 

11,611.18 

741.38 



512,352. 56 

527,517.35 



LESS DISB. 

ENDING CASH BALANCE APRIL 30, 1986 



-9.865.47 
$17,651.88 



Arbor Collections for 1985 





DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 




8-2 


Fri. 


$200.00 (Gave to singers 




8-3 


Sat. 


$825.00 (Gave to singers) 




8-4 


Sun. A.M. 


$722.00 




8-4 


Sun. P.M. 


$90.00 




8-5 


Mon. 


$125.00 




8-6 


Tue. 


$72.00 




8-7 


Wed. 


$139.00 




8-8 


Thu. 


$168.00 




8-9 


Fri. 


$127.00 




8-10 


Sat. 


$159.00 




8-11 


Sun. 


$1084.00 




TOTAL: 




$2,686.00 




Coins collected 






throughout week: 


$86.48 




TOTAL COLLECTED: 


$2,772.48 



267 



1986 

Trustees Discuss Repairs, Improvements & 
Purchases 

March 13 - Meeting at Jones Fish Camp. Present: Hal Peacock, Jerry 
Sigmon, Gary Holbrooks, Dwight Callaway Dennis Dellinger, Loy 
McConnell, Bill Ballard and H.A. Jonas, Jr. 

Discussed generally affairs of campground. Agreed to investigate 
purchase of speaker system. 

Annual meeting 4 p.m. on May 4, 1986. 

Agreed to purchase 4 lights for parking lot. H.A.J, to contact Rhyne 
Little to check arbor roof. Agreed to consider in May renting shack again 
to E. Lincoln Band Boosters who did good job last year. Bill Ballard spoke 
about reworking the spring building, roof, etc. 



Camp Keeps Rustic Look 

August 5 (Tuesday) - Work has been going on since February land- 
scaping the area around the arbor and otherwise fixing up historic Rock 
Spring Campground, but campground board of trustees member Dwight 
Callaway says none of the improvements will detract horn the camp's 
rustic atmosphere. 

"We're proud of it," Callaway said, standing under one of the big 
oak trees by the arbor. "Everything's been done by volunteers. Most of 
the tent owners know we're doing something but they haven't been 
down to see it." 

Actually, there won't be any glaring differences. Even though the 
work has cost nearly $10,000, when campers start arriving at the end of 
this month for the 157th annual campmeeting, they'll feel like they're 
in the same homespun place. 

"We didn't want to mess up the tradition," Callaway said. "A man 

268 



1986 



came out here one day and said he was just checking to see if I moved 
those rocks (three big rocks around the perimeter of the arbor). He said, 
'I'd shoot you if you moved those rocks.'" 

Aside from adding security lights, which will be kept on all year, 
two stone picnic tables, and two water fountains near the arbor, most of 
the work was landscaping. Fifteen dead trees were removed, 650 feet of 
drainage pipe laid, 350 tons of gravel poured, numerous shrubs planted, 
and grass seeded in the arbor area. 

Callaway said the work comes in the wake of renewed interest in 
the Rock Spring campmeeting. 

"About seven or eight years ago it died down, but it seems like inter- 
est has revived recently," he said. 



Tradition Links Faithful to their Past 

August 7 (Thursday) - It is like three streams flowing into a river, 
blending the waters of faith, family and tradition. 

William Lee Sigmon, 81, and his wife, Ouida, 78, stay in the tent 
she got from her father, Charles Gabriel. It was built in the 1830s and is 
believed to be the oldest one standing. Fire destroyed the first tent in 
1981. 

The Sigmons have missed few meetings in their lifetime. They didn't 
go in 1948. But then, neither did anyone else - the meeting was can- 
celled when a polio epidemic swept the country. 

"I've missed only two or three years since I was born," said Mrs. 
Sigmon. "You'd just bring your babies and things and come on." 

Probably the oldest person in attendance this year is Georgianna 
Howard, who lives south of Denver. She's been coming to the camp- 

269 



1986 



meeting each year since 1901. 

"I don't think there's anyone as old as me here now. I'll turn 97 on 
Oct. 6," Mrs. Howard said. 

"I want to come until after I'm 100. Do you reckon I'll make it?" she 
asked. "I want to make it until I'm 100, then go down to the arbor and 
make a speech. I don't know what I'll say, but I've got three years to 
think it out." 

Mrs. Howard and her late husband, Seab, who died in 1948, have 
brought their 12 children to Rock Spring every year - setting forth a 
tradition that unites five generations of her family. 

"I just love it here," Mrs. Howard said. "If anyone came and offered 
to take me around the world, I'd say, 'No, I have to go to campmeeting.' 
I see all my friends here." 

Mrs. Howard keeps a notebook for all her camp visitors to sign. Last 
year, more than 1500 people added their names. 

Her 67-year-old daughter, Ora Beatty, came from Greensboro this 
year, bringing along her 14-year-old granddaughter, Tara Bodenstab of 
Raleigh. 

"Usually, it's the people who were raised in this vicinity who come," 
said Mrs. Beatty, who comes every year. "It's like homecoming. New resi- 
dents don't feel about it the way we do, the ones who've grown up with 
it." 

Jamie Sherrill, 14, daughter of Jim and Susan Sherrill, paid a brief 
visit to Mrs. Howard, her great-grandmother. She made it plain that the 
week isn't just for the old folks. 

"It's pretty fun," she said. "You meet a lot of people, visit with friends, 
walk around, go to the shack and things." 

The "shack" is the camp concession stand. The band boosters from 
East Lincoln High School have been operating it this year, as they did 
last year. 

270 



1986 



Many of those helping with the campmeeting have old ties. But 
others are new to the area, brought in by the development around Lake 
Norman. 

"This is all new to me," said Abbie Bearden, an Alexis area resident 
and publicity chairman for the band boosters. 

"I grew up in Alabama, lived in Florida, and I've been here about 
four years," she said. "I find North Carolina is much more traditional 
than the areas I'm used to, but I'm quite a history buff so I've really 
enjoyed being in this area." 

She's not the only newcomer impressed by the easy family feeling 
that abounds during the "big week" of campmeeting and the "little week" 
which precedes it. 

Katie Belle Brown and her mother, Prue Howard of Florence, SC, 
were talking in their tent with their cousin, Margaret Dellinger of Den- 
ver. 

Mrs. Howard was born near the camp. Although she and her hus- 
band moved to Florence 55 years ago, they kept coming back each year. 
"My husband kept me coming back. He loved it," said Mrs. Howard. 
"We've always been here. And I really love it when they sing the old- 
fashioned camp songs." 

"Well, it's home," said Mrs. Brown of the camp's appeal, "although 
now you see a lot of faces and people you don't know. I was just 4 or 5 
when we moved, but we spent every summer up here - and my children 
spent every summer here. We come for two weeks each year. We rest up 
because you know you're going to have company." 

Mrs. Brown said the camp tradition will last "forever." 

"I think it will," Mrs. Dellinger agreed. She pointed to repairs and 
the new picnic tables and sound system that camp trustees installed this 
year. 

"They've improved it a lot. I hope it does last forever." 

271 



1986 



Scandinavians Join Campmeeting Crowd 

August 9 (Saturday) - Late Saturday afternoon, a group of campers 
at Rock Spring Campground sat in the porch swing hung in front of 
their tent and said they wished it would rain, at least enough to settle 
the dust, and a little while later the clouds moved in and the sky grew 
dark. 

"Looks like we might get a shower," said one man. 

"Sure would be nice," said his neighbor. 

In the hushed stillness before a storm, people all over the camp- 
ground were cooking the evening meal before the big Saturday night 
singing. In the outdoor arbor one of the professional gospel groups was 
setting up on stage. 

The two new picnic tables beside the arbor were covered with paper 
plates, soft drinks, hamburger buns, the works, and the hamburgers were 
almost done on the grill. 

Part of the group of young people waiting for the hamburgers to get 
done were not your regular, everyday Rock Spring campers. Some of 
them were from Scandinavia. They spoke English with an accent. 

The foreign visitors, a group of 15 youths from Sweden, Denmark, 
Finland and Norway, were getting a firsthand look at a unique American 
tradition. Saturday night was the last night of a six-week stay in North 
Carolina for them. They are the latest pilgrims in the Scandinavian Cara- 
van, a 31 -year-old exchange tradition between the four Scandinavian 
countries and North Carolina, sponsored by the Western North Caro- 
lina Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Last summer, Boger City resident Debbie Reynolds and three other 
Lincoln County youths were among a North Carolina group that visited 
Scandinavia; this summer the Scandinavians came here. It works like 
that each summer on an alternating basis. 

Helene Rasmussen, the group leader from Norway, said when she 
returns home she'll describe the Rock Spring Campmeeting to her friends 

272 



1986 



as "a very old tradition with lots of people and lots of fun. We have 
campmeetings but nothing like this. The Methodist church in my coun- 
try is much younger than it is here," she said. 

Methodist circuit-riding minister Daniel Asbury is credited with start- 
ing the campmeeting tradition here in 1791. 

Rasmussen said Norway, a country of five million, has only around 
12,000 people who call themselves Methodists. The state church is 
Lutheran, and anyone who is not a Lutheran must pay higher taxes. 

Methodism spread from the U.S. to Norway in 1856. 

Reynolds said she thoroughly enjoyed her trip to Scandinavia last 
summer. 

"It was great. I met a lot of nice people. I found out people are really 
the same all over the world," she said. 

The hamburgers were done, and just in time. The rain started and 
came down in sheets. Everyone took cover, many watching out door- 
ways and windows as the welcomed shower beat on the tin roofs. It 
stopped before dark and festivities were resumed. 



273 




Rev. Jack Kaylor ofBoger City United Methodist Church preaches 




Rock Spring Relaxing 

Arvell Bryant, Frank Bynum and Robert Shuler (from left to right) enjoy a quiet late 

Saturday afternoon at Rock Spring Campground before the big Saturday night singing. 



274 



Arbor Collections for 1986 



DATE DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-3 Sun. A.M. 


$954.00 


8-3 Sun. P.M. 


$156.00 


8-4 Mon. 


$115.00 


8-5 Tue. 


$196.00 


8-6 Wed. 


$191.00 


8-7 Thu. 


$125.00 


8-8 Fri. 


$223.00 


8-9 Sat. 


$213.00 


8-10 Sun. 


$1889.00 


TOTAL: 


$4,062.00 


Coins collected 




throughout week: 


$95.13 


TOTAL COLLECTED: 


$4,157.13 


Daily Bank 


Deposits: 


8-2 


$625.00 


8-3 


$1423.00 


8-4 


$641.00 


8-5 


$695.00 


8-6 


$1571.00 


8-7 


$1136.00 


8-8 


$670.00 


8-9 


$1948.00 


8-10 


$1298.00 


8-10 


$1889.00 


8-10 


$865.13 


TOTAL DEPOSITS: 


$12,761.13 



275 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1986 



May 1, 1986 


■ April 30, 1987 




Bank Draft - Service charge 


5- -86 


$24.75 


Martin Marietta - Gravel 


5-01-86 


1320.60 


Olen Painter - Grading 


5-01-86 


340.00 


Electrical Distributors - Wiring 


5-01-86 


222.65 


Dellinger - Grading 


5-01-86 


137.13 


J.W. Sigmon - Yard work 


5-01-86 


90.00 


Tommy Little - Straw 


5-01-86 


350.00 


Claremont Wholesale - Supplies 


5-01-86 


126.09 


Porta John 


5-01-86 


26.13 


Vandyke and Associates - Accounting 


5-12-86 


50.00 


Joe King - Supplies 


5-15-86 


71.27 


Turbyfill Hardware - Plants, etc. 


5-21-86 


94.05 


Lincoln County - Water 


5-27-86 


9.00 


Lee Killian - Straw 


6-06-86 


158.00 


Denver Fire Dept. - Fire protection 


6-06-86 


600.00 


Lincoln County - Water 


6-24-86 


9.00 


Lincoln County - Water 


7-02-86 


9.00 


Eugene Bradshaw - Landscape 


7-07-86 


200.00 


Bryan Howard - Power bill 


7-16-86 


60.00 


Claremont Wholesale - Supplies 


7-19-86 


235.51 


Westport Arborists - Tree cutting 


7-19-86 


150.00 


Lowes - Electrical material 


7-19-86 


369.84 


Cecil Vandyke - Accounting 


7-19-86 


25.00 


Pike Roofing - Roof on arbor 


7-24-86 


2520.00 


Lincoln Times-News - Ad 


7-25-86 


19.50 


Electrical Distributors - Elect, material 


7-25-86 


81.12 


Cherryville Hardware - Landscaping 


7-25-86 


530.79 


U.S. Post Office - Stamps 


7-25-86 


6.00 


Electrical Distributors - Elect, material 


7-30-86 


693.85 


Printing Unlimited - Newsletters 


7-30-86 


21.65 


Denver Plumbing Company - Plumbing 


7-31-86 


90.00 


Claremont Wholesale - Supplies 


7-31-86 


286.12 


Bill Rock 


8-03-86 


44.00 


Neil Underwood 


8-03-86 


275.00 


Amy Dellinger - Piano 


8-03-86 


236.50 


Gordon Drum 


8-03-86 


33.00 


Andy Winkler 


8-03-86 


33.00 


Camilla Phillips 


8-03-86 


302.50 


Jim Rogers 


8-03-86 


236.50 


Carl Johnson 


8-03-86 


44.00 


David Melton 


8-03-86 


44.00 


Tom Gibson 


8-03-86 


44.00 


Jack Kaylor 


8-03-86 


44.00 


Lewis Woodard 


8-03-86 


44.00 


Richard Randolph 


8-03-86 


412.50 


Gene McCants 


8-03-86 


330.00 


Ronnie Reinhardt - Repairs 


8-04-86 


5.21 


Ronnie Reinhardt - Repairs 


8-04-86 


20.50 


Lincoln Music Center - Repairs 


8-05-86 


25.00 


Ronnie Sherrill - Cleanup 


8-07-86 


300.00 



276 



Denver Plumbing Company - Plumbing 

Johnny Roxboro - Trash removal 

Gary Holbrooks - Collect tent tax 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

East Lincoln Rescue Squad - Contribution 

Claremont Wholesale - Supplies 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Linger Brothers - Lights 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

J.W. Sigmon - Sowing grass 

Peeler's Concrete Tile Co. -Joints 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Electrical Distributors - Supplies 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

Callaway Homes - Labor 

Cherry Landscaping - Grading & clearing 

Claremont Wholesale - Supplies 

J.W. Sigmon - Sowing grass 

Dwight Callaway - Gravel 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Taurus Electric - Electrical work 

Caldwell Fertilizer Company - Landscaping 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Radio Shack - Sound system 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Jones Fish Camp - Dinner for trustees 

Duke Power Company - Utilities 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Timeless Computer - Letters 

Lincoln County - Water bill 

Timeless Computer - Letters 

Timeless Computer - Letters 



8-08-86 


175.00 


8-12-86 


310.00 


8-12-86 


275.00 


8-15-86 


102.86 


8-18-86 


100.00 


9-08-86 


118.91 


9-08-86 


234.94 


9-08-86 


100.00 


9-10-86 


713.53 


9-10-86 


175.92 


9-18-86 


548.11 


9-26-86 


229.99 


9-29-86 


127.51 


10-02-86 


9.00 


10-03-86 


248.19 


10-07-86 


60.24 


10-08-86 


2000.00 


10-17-86 


5705.00 


10-17-86 


554.99 


10-30-86 


623.56 


11-03-86 


34.62 


11-04-86 


9.00 


11-16-86 


167.81 


11-28-86 


160.00 


12-02-86 


9.00 


8-09-86 


20.85 


1-05-87 


9.00 


1-08-87 


139.15 


1-13-87 


70.81 


2-04-87 


9.00 


3-05-87 


129.85 


3-12-87 


64.88 


3-17-87 


9.00 


3-17-87 


125.00 


4-09-87 


9.00 


4-22-87 


48.15 


4-29-87 


44.00 



Total Disbursements: $24,870.64 



277 



Rock Spring Campground 

Reconciliation of Cash 

April 30, 1987 



Beginning Cash Balance-May 1, 1986 $17,651.88 

Cash Received: 

Deposits $13,944.55 

Interest Net of Service Charges $585.23 

$14,529.88 
Cash Disbursements - See Separate Schedule (24,870.64) 

Ending Cash Balance-April 30,1987 $7,311.02 



278 



1987 

Trustees Discuss Upcoming Campmeeting 

May 3 (Sunday) - Rock Spring Campground trustees met at the 
arbor. Rev. Gene McCants reported that the following will be involved 
in the '87 campmeeting: 

Gene McCants - Preacher 

Tim Rodgers - Youth 

Susan Norman-Vickers - Children 

Neil -Choir 
Neil is authorized to buy music for the choir and give bill to Gary. 
Workday will be last Saturday in June, June 27. 
Clyde Armstrong was elected to the campground trustees. 
Agreed to give spring pump to Johnny Sigmon. 
The trustees are encouraged to invite tenters to attend the services. 
The following were elected as officers for 1987-88: 

President - Bill Ballard 

Secretary/Treasurer - Gary Holbrooks 
Gary reported we had spent over $9,000 and we have an excess of 
$5,000 plus in balance. 



279 



II / 

ROCK SPHxHGc CAMP MEETING 

P.O. BOX 20* 

DENVER. NC 26037 



Another year of campmeetine is upon ub. We are looking forward to 
this year and feel it will be another successful meeting. 

He have spent in excess of *9,000 on the outer grounds. We ask 
all tenters to have their repairs finished and their tenta cleaned out 
by the last week in July. 

We have the same rules as in past years and ask that everyone 
abide ay them. 

PleaBe do not park to the inside of the gravel driveway 
surrounding the Arbor. 

Because of the grass we ask all tenters to have only one car at 
their tent. We also ask all tenters in Row 2 not to park between Row 2 
and Row 3- This insures that the tenterB In Row 3 might have the 
opportunity to enjoy the meeting. 

We ask all tenters to take more interest in repairing and keeping 
the area around their tents cleaner. This will make your a much better 
neighbor to live beside. 

We ask that the noise level be kept down after 11 p.m. 

There is MO alcoholic beverages on the grounds or in the tents. 
The trustees have a right to check. Anyone violating this will be 
removed rrom the premises. 

The tax and utilities for each tent is now $45-00. Please make 
checks payable to Rock Springs Camp Ground. We ask that you pay as 
early as possible. Note: Gary Holbrooke is treasurer. If you have 
any inquiries or need information you may call him at his work number 
U63-3036 or 377-9912 or at home 483-2002. 

May 2 has been set aside fo" a work day. We would like for 
everyone who can, to come out and help. We will be needing rakes, 
shovels, chain saws, pick up trucks^, ladders and lawn mowers. Please 
bring any of the above items thar* you can. 

See you at Worship Service! 

Bill Ballard 
Chairman of the Board 

Trustees: Bill Ballard. Dwight Calloway, Dennis Del linger. Jerry Wayne 
Dellinger, Rev. Joe Ervin, Gary Holbrooks, Harvey Jonas, Loy 
McConnell, Jerry Sigmon 



280 



1987 



Campmeeting Folk One Big Family 

"Campmeeting brings people together. Every August people come 
out here and we become one big family. Folks never question going to 
campmeeting. It's just something we have been raised to do and always 
will," says Dwight Calloway Jr., of Denver. 

This year's campmeeting, Aug. 2-9, will mark the 156th year that 
Lincoln County people have gathered at Rock Spring Campground. 

"I've attended campmeeting every summer for the past 66 years," 
says Roger Sigmon, a frequent visitor to the campground. "I look for- 
ward to it every year and I'd never miss it." 

"A few years ago, there was a lack of interest in the campground," 
relates Denver native Johnny Sigmon. "I think the beautification project, 
which was begun two years ago, has brought back the enthusiasm. More 
people seem interested in attending the camp again, but we always have 
a lot of people to attend." 

"Everything down here at the campground is 100 percent volun- 
tary. We have many dedicated, hard-working people who are commit- 
ted to Rock Spring," adds Dwight Calloway. "Everyone in the county 
knows about campmeeting and we are well-supported by the attendance 
of people of different denominations and people who do not have tents." 

"There are eight tents in my family," laughs James Barker. "All of 
my relatives come and I haven't missed campmeeting in 67 years. Even 
when I was in the service I managed to get home. It kind of gets in your 
blood." 



281 



1987 



A Stranger Goes Searching 

It's a miracle I found the place. Surely Rock Spring Campground 
couldn't be on this red clay road unimproved since the wagons of 1830 
carved the first ruts. A boy pumping gas in Lincolnton told me that if I 
stayed on route 1373, I'd run into it. That's where I was. 

"Y'all being a stranger sets you down as an 'outsider,' but they'll 
treat you kindly," he said. 

Hardly comforting words. Then a glint of sunlight bouncing off a 
tin roof half-hidden in an oak grove told me I'd found one of the oldest 
campmeeting grounds in America. 

Sandwiched between Denver and Sherrills Ford in Lincoln County, 
NC, Rock Spring is not easy to find. I had not hunted for it because of 
any religious fervor, although in the end I clapped in rhythm with 2000 
tenters as we sang "Work For the Night is Coming" and other hymns. 
No, I had come to get the feel of an old-time campmeeting, a remnant 
of our 18th century history that began in George Washington's time 
and has survived through wars and pestilence. 

I don't know what I expected to find, but certainly not the near- 
shabby cluster of buildings at the Rock Spring Campground. The clear- 
ing in the oak grove was centered by an open-sided arbor, while slatted, 
unpainted cabins, called tents, stretched along in a row, one leaning 
upon another to share common walls. Cabins of a more permanent na- 
ture are sprinkled among the trees. 

Tents are privately owned and, like family silver, are handed down 
from father to son, never for sale. A tent tax levied for the care and 
maintenance of arbors and grounds is collected and administered by a 
board of trustees. 

Buildings and amenities are primitive but are a long way from the 
first conglomeration of tents that were made of gunny sacks or quilts, 
with a common stew pot in the clearing. On that spot today the arbor 
seats several hundred around a preacher's pulpit. Some of the rebuilt 

282 



1987 



tents erected after a fire boast the luxury of kitchens and even sinks; 
running water is still drawn from a spigot that gushes clear water from 
the spring. Electricity has replaced candles and kerosene lamps, and horse- 
drawn vehicles have been nudged aside by automobiles. 

The first tenters came in from the hills on horseback, in wagons and 
on foot, some with slaves to do the menial tasks. With them came cattle 
and pigs and chickens and hampers of vegetables, all items for the great 
iron stew pot. It was share and share alike, still practiced today. 

Caleb Burney, a tall, gaunt, sun-bronzed man who whittled lovely 
animal figures, told me his great-grandfather walked into camp with his 
shoes tied around his neck and a bedroll on his back. He brought a ewe 
and two chickens. "It isn't what you bring in your hand; it's what you 
bring in your heart," he told me. 

Then, as now, they come in the hottest time of the year, the first 
week in August when rain comes down in sheets, when mosquitoes are 
hungriest and when the humidity is at its zenith. August is that time of 
year when time can best be spared after some of the crops are harvested 
and others not yet ready to dig or scythe. Only the people have changed, 
and that not noticeably; this need and drive to gather with fellow ten- 
ters is as strong as the swarming of lemmings. The difference is that now 
the tenters sing and worship in peace; their ancestors fought off drunks 
and hooligans who invaded the camp to destroy tents and steal what- 
ever wasn't nailed down. 

Still, they hung on with the tenacity of Presbyterian faith, of Scot- 
tish, American-English bulldogishness and the unwavering piety of the 
Irish. It is principally Methodism now but that mixture of Irish, Scotch 
and English blood shows in the predominance of red hair and the pleas- 
ing lilt of uncontaminated Elizabethan English. The names of Burney, 
McCalla, Coulter, Van Eyck, Johnstone and Armstrong most often heard. 
They're formal with their "misters" and "missuses," very generous to 

283 



1987 



strangers. I was served a dish of bread pudding so laced with Bourbon I 
was almost knocked onto my back. Was it Bourbon? Or was it some of 
that local 120 proof mountain dew? You don't ask. And you don't joke. 

It's very daunting to be pinioned by 100 pairs of steady blue eyes 
and a sea of flaming hair. You have that sense of achievement after those 
eyes have weighed your worth and passed you through. They're hard- 
headed, hard working hillfolk with no nonsense about them. 

Ministers come horn nearby towns for that week in August. After 
1 794, it was the circuit rider who summoned the pious to campmeeting 
grounds. Hardy souls who slept in barns and ate whatever a household 
could spare, preached from 5 a.m. until cock's crow the following dawn, 
preached hellfire and damnation with such passion the mourner's bench 
never emptied of sinners. Leather-lunged and burning with religious 
zeal, he put the fear of God in anyone within earshot. 

Sometime in the early 1800s, a preacher named James McGready 
turned up to "spell" the circuit rider; for some reason they didn't hit it 
off and James McGready moved on while the circuit rider enlarged his 
field westward. Campmeeting grounds blossomed in such distant terri- 
tories as California. Even today, a century and a half after campmeetings 
dried up, tenters join the Piedmonters in August, coming from Louisi- 
ana, California and Texas to be with friends on Big Day, the last Sunday 
of the meeting. I counted fourteen out-of-state license plates on Big Day 
when their numbers had swollen to around 1,500. 

They sit on the ground near the pavilion to sing, listen to sermons 
and prayers. Or they can sit on their little porches and hear every word 
via a loudspeaker. Some hands are busy with whittlin', not crude chunks, 
but doll heads any museum would long for. Or someone plucks a soft 
note on a banjo. Or the sweet music from a harmonica blends with the 
singing. Mr. Van Eyck squeezed a few notes from a concertina that came 
to a meeting a hundred years ago. 

284 



1987 



You hear an occasional "Yes, Lord," or "Amen, God," but there's no 
haranguing. Women knit tiny caps for cornhusk dolls, or tat edging for 
pillow cases. And the baskets. Those beautiful baskets glimpsed through 
open tent doors that they seem to use instead of boxes or luggage, no 
two alike. 

While at leisure, they exchange recipes or piece quilt patterns, their 
watchful eyes following children playing baseball or pitching colts or 
shinnying up trees. They gossip as they peel potatoes and make plans 
for next year's meeting. 

A dry spell of twenty-nine days had tested their faith as they'd 
watched rain clouds skip over the hills to favor other farms. 

By midweek, their prayers were answered. We held our breath as a 
black cloud hurried towards camp. If I'd known what was coming, I'd 
have crawled under a bed. A great bolt of lightning ripped the sky ac- 
companied by such crashes of thunder as to make you wonder if Judge- 
ment Day was at hand. The tenters viewed it all with a sort of suppressed 
eagerness and checked joy. You felt they were saying, "Not yet; no cel- 
ebration until the rains come." 

Four horses tethered under a tree panicked and were moved. The 
tenters' lips moved, still holding onto silent prayers. 

Then the deluge. It came in a solid sheet of water that dumped upon 
the tin roofs like a shower of rocks. Lightning punished the eyeballs and 
thunder made the ears pop. Leaves and branches scurried before the 
blasts of wind that tossed the tree tops and fluttered the arbor roofs. 

As though activated by a spring, the tenters ran into the clearing to 
sing and shout and praise God. They stood with faces upturned, faces 
illuminated by thanksgiving, that shone with rain and tears and an in- 
ner light as though touched by God's finger. 

The red road turned into a red river. Above the tumult a thousand 
voices rose in a mighty paean of praise in the doxology, "Praise God 

285 



1987 



from Whom all blessings flow." 

I feared for their safety. If struck by lightning they'd be reduced to 
cinders. The rain stopped with no tapering off; it just stopped. But still 
they stood as though to absorb that vagrant last drop. A tenter with his 
hair glued to his skull passed me with that long, loose-limbed stride that 
covers so much ground saying, "Well, by gum, God had to give up, eh?" 

He laughed when I said, "He had no choice under the pressure you 
exerted." 

In the end, they turned and walked towards the pavilion to sing 
from hearts filled with gratitude. It made the nuke seem very far away. 
Some sat on the sodden earth in sodden clothes. As Mrs. Mclrney said, 
"Being wet makes no never mind." 

This is no rootin' tootin' revival religion. That is the stuff movies 
are made of. 

Anne-Marie Wilsen 
The State, August 1 987 



286 




1 

Q 



S 
So 

1= 












287 



f 987 CAMPMEETING 

August 2 • 9 



CAMP MINISTER 

REVEREND GENE A. McCANTS 

CAMP PREACHER 

REVEREND GENE A. McCANTS (Rock Springs Charge • Denver) 

CHOIR DIRECTOR 

NEIL UNDERWOOD (Denver UMC) 

PIANIST 

SUNDAY AND EVENING WORSHIP 

AMY DELLINGER (Bethel UMC) 

WEEKDAY WORSHIP 

ROSIE COSBY 

CHILDREN'S DIRECTOR 

ROSIE COSBY AND THE REVEREND EDDIE BLACK (Denver UMC) 

YOUTH DIRECTOR 

TIM ROGERS (Duncan Memorial UMC - Charlotte) 

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER — AUGUST 2 

SAM STEWART AND GARY PETRILLO 

(Student Interns working with Highway 16 Ministries) 

SUNDAY SCHOOL — AUGUST S 

JOHN CUTCHIN (Bethel UMC) 

MORNING PREACHERS 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2 

JOE ERVIN, DIRECTOR, EXTENSIONS OF UMC 

MONDAY, AUGUST 3 

STEVE KISER (Landis UMC) 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 

JIM CHURCH (Hopewell UMC, Peachland, NC) 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5 

RICHARD HATHCOCK (Mt. Moriah-Naw Home. Casar, NC) 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 6 

GERALD COLLINS (Plains UMC, Canton, NC) 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 

JERRY WATTS (Acton UMC, Candler, NC) 

TIMES FOR SERVICES 

FRIDAY, JULY 31 , 7:30pm COMMUNITY GOSPEL SING 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 1 , 7:30pm "BIG" GOSPEL SING 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 10:00am SUNDAY SCHOOL 

11:00am WORSHIP SERVICE 

7:00pm CHOIR PRACTICE 

8:00pm WORSHIP 

MONDAY — FRIDAY, AUGUST 3-7 10:00am CHILDREN'S HOUR 

11 :30am WORSHIP 

7:00pm CHOIR PRACTICE 

8:00pm WORSHIP 

(Youth Service will follow evening worship) 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 7:00pm CHOIR PRACTICE 

8:00pm WORSHIP 

SUNDAY, AUGUST 9, 10:00am SUNDAY SCHOOL 

11:00am WORSHIP 



288 



1987 CAMPMEETING 

Camp Minister 

and Campmeeting Preacher 

The Reverend Gene A. McCants 



Brother McCants is presently the Pastor 
of the Rock Spring Charge of the United 
Methodist Church. This Charge includes 
Webb's Chapel and Bethel Churches as 
well as the Campground. He is in his se- 
cond year. He truly enjoys the Camp 
meeting experience. 

The Reverend McCants is a native of 
Lancaster, SC. He is married to the former 
Mary Rose Plyer. They have three 
children. 

Brother Gene is a graduate of "Western 
Carolina University and The Divinity School, Duke University. He is 
also a graduate of the United Methodist Church Course of Study 
School. 

Brother McCants has served the following pastorates: The 
Webster Circuit in Webster of the Waynesville District (five years); 
Center Grove-St. Paul of the Salisbury District (one year); The 
Polkton Charge in the Albermarle District (six years). 

Brother McCants has ministered in many evangelistic services 
throughout North Carolina. He also has ministered in South 
Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. 

It is Brother McCants' desire and prayer that all who attend 
CAMPMEETING '87 will be renewed spiritually and that all Chur- 
ches represented by those who attend will get a little of that "old 
time religion". 




289 





MONDAY'S 

MORNING PREACHER 

AUGUST 3 

The Reverend Steve Klser 



Brother Kiser is 39 years old. He is married to 
the former Elizabeth Quinter They have two 
children. He has served First Church Landis 
since January 1987. Steve served in the United 
Methodist Church since 1983. 

Steve is a graduate of Appalachian State 
University and the Divinity School, Duke Univer- 
sity. 

Steve is a native of Lincolnton in Lincoln Coun- 
ty, North Carolina. 



TUESDAY'S 

MORNING PREACHER 

AUGUST 4 

The Reverend Jim Church 



Brother Church is 33 years old. He is married 
to Alyson. He has served the Hopewell United 
Methodist Church in Anson County of the Alber- 
marle District for three years. Jim has served in 
the Methodist Church for nine years. 

Jim is a graduate of Appalacian State Universi- 
ty and the Duke Divinity School. 

Jim is a native of West Jefferson in Ashe Coun- 
ty, North Carolina. 



WEDNESDAY'S 

MORNING PREACHER 

AUGUST 5 

The Reverend Richard Hathcock 

Brother Hathcock is 49 years old. He is married 
to the former Virginia Miller and has two children. 
He has served the Mount Moriah-New Home 
Charge in the Gastonia District the past year. He 
has been a minister in the United Methodist 
Church since 1975., 

Richard is a native of Albermarle in Stanly 
County, North Carolina. 



THURSDAY'S 

MORNING PREACHER 

AUGUST 6 

The Reverend Gerald Collins 

Brother Collins is 45 years old. He is married to 
the former Brenda Thomas. They have four 
children. He has served Plains United Methodist 
Church in Canton of the Waynesville District the 
past year. He has served the Church since 1974. 

Gerald is a graduate of Western Carolina 
University and The Divinity School of Duke 
University. 

Gerald is a native of Jamestown in Guilford 
County, North Carolina. 



FRIDAY'S 

MORNING PREACHER 

AUGUST 7 

The Reverend Jerry Watts 



Brother Watts is 35 years old. He is married to 
the former Kathy Kury. The have one child. He 
has served Acton United Methodist Church in 
Chandler of the Asheville District for two years. 
Jerry has served the United Methodist since 
1978. 

Jerry is a graduate of Mars Hill College and the 
Divinity School of Duke University. He is currently 
working on the his Doctorate at Trinity 
Theological Seminary. 

Jerry is a native of Chandler in Buncombe 
County, North Carolina. 




290 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1987 

Beginning Cash Balance, April 30, 1987 $7,311.02 

$ 197.70 

407.40 

148.20 

10.00 

300.00 

10.00 

81.87 

58.59 

17.72 

10.00 

157.50 

2000.00 

34.09 

697.30 

50.00 

35.00 

225.00 

35.00 

35.00 

35.00 

254.71 

35.00 

150.00 

150.00 

245.50 

275.00 

257.75 

240.00 

35.00 

50.22 

18.30 

500.00 

330.00 

487.24 

150.00 

150.00 

30.33 

15.16 

76.84 

80.33 

257.10 

548.11 

345.73 

193.20 

28.88 

238.00 

10.00 

966.45 

25.00 



5-4-87 


J.W. Sigmon 


5-23 


Statesville Concrete 


5-26 


Duke Power Co. 


6-8 


Lincoln Co. Water 


6-8 


Gary Holbrooks 


6-17 


Lincoln Co. Water 


6-22 


Turbyfill Hardware 


6-22 


Duke Power Co. 


6-30 


Lincoln Limes News 


7-1 


Lincoln Co. Water 


7-8 


Denver Pool Sales 


7-10 


Connie Hill 


7-16 


Martin Marietta 


7-24 


Claremont Wholesale 


7-31 


Cecil Van Ingle 


7-31 


Tommy Harrill 


8-1 


Denver Plumbing 


8-3 


Steve Kiser 


8-4 


Jim Church 


8-4 


Sam Stewart 


8-5 


Modern Electric 


8-6 


Gerald Collins 


8-6 


Brian Hicks 


8-6 


Chris Holbrooks 


8-6 


Tim Rogers 


8-6 


Neil Underwood 


8-6 


R.B. Cronland Co. 


8-6 


Amy Dellinger 


8-7 


Frank Gordon 


8-7 


Rosa Cosby 


8-7 


Red & White Store 


8-9 


Gene McCants 


8-10 


Johnny Roseboro 


8-17 


Duke Power Co. 


8-6 


The Anchormen 


8-6 


The Regals 


8-6 


Electrical Distributors 


8-18 


Lincoln Co. Water 


9-28 


Lincoln Co. Water 


10-5 


Electrical Distributors 


10-5 


Claremont Wholesale 


10-5 


Duke Power Co. 


10-5 


Lincoln Co. Water 


10-5 


Cook & Boardman, In 


10-5 


R.B. Cronland Co. 


10-5 


Tarus Electric 


11-24 


Lincoln Co. Water 


11-24 


Duke Power Co. 


12-23 


Lincoln Co. Water 



291 



2-25-88 Denver Florist 


57.75 




2-28 Duke Power Co. 


267.83 




2-28 Denver Plumbing Co. 


110.00 




3-4 Jones Fish Camp 


168.60 




3-25 Sigmon Hardware 


40.50 




3-28 Lincoln Co. Water 


10.00 




4-26 Lincoln Co. Water 


50.00 
Total Paid Out - $10,271.36 




BEGINNING BALANCE 




$7,311.02 


DEPOSITS 




14.888.35 
$22,199.37 


INTEREST EARNED 




449.15 
$22,648.52 


BANK SERVICE CHARGES 




-28.71 
$22,619.81 


TOTAL DISBURSEMENTS 




12.271.36 


BALANCE APRIL 30, 1988 




$10,271.36 



Arbor Collections for 1987 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-1 


Sat. 


$680.00 (Gave to singers) 


8-2 


Sun. A.M. 


$1076.00 


8-2 


Sun. P.M. 


$151.00 


8-3 


Mon. 


$133.00 


8-4 


Tue. 


$135.00 


8-5 


Wed. 


$101.00 


8-6 


Thu. 


$288.00 


8-7 


Fri. 


$261.00 


8-8 


Sat. 


$711.00 


8-9 


Sun. 


$2058.49 


TOTAL: 




$5,594.49 



292 



TENT OWNERS 1987 



1. Blair Abernathy 

2. Rolland M. Thompson, Jr. 

3. Joe F. King 

4. O.F. Howard 

5. Katie G. Mundy 

6. Bill & Joyce Ballard 

7. L.O. & Ruth Mundy 

8. W.W. Thompson 

9. Russell Cherry 

10. Ronald G. Jenkins 

11. Ouida Sigmon 

12. R.W. Little 

13. B.S. Sherrill 

14. Barry & Wanda Lucky 

15. A.W. Eudy 

16. Gary & Mark Holbrooks 

17. Larry Hooper 

18. Callie Little 

19. Ruth Lowe Cowen 

20. J.V. Rhyne 

21 . Murray & Martha Sherrill 

22. Gilbert E. Brotherton 

23. F.G.McCall 

24. Dwight Callawav 

25. Bill Mull 

26. Richard Sigmon 

27. Thomas S. Cherry 

28. J.B.Crowe 

28. E.H. Dellinger 

29. Mary W. Atwell 

30. Marvin K. Brotherton 

31. Ford Mavhew 

32. Ira J. Hobbs 

33. Ottie L. Robinson 
33. George Camp 

33. Pamela R. Lipford 

34. Thomas L. Brotherton 

35. Terry Moore 

35. Sam Moore 

36. George & Mary McCalister 

37. KirbyD. Dellinger, Jr. 

38. Emma Sherrill 

39. Mrs. M.H. Brotherton 

40. Jessie Duckworth 

41. J.E. Helm 

42. Monroe Howard 

43. Carolyn Howard 
43. Linda Starnes 



44. Henry Barkley 

44. Jerry Barkley 

45. Rosa L. Beatty 

46. Rhyne Henley 

47. Glen Ballard' 

47. Joyce Swanzy 

48. Glen Ballard' 

49. Charles Manson Beatty 

50. Mrs. Thad (Sallie) Gabriel 

5 1 . Roger Sigmon 

52. C.V. Sigmon 

53. Lewis Ballard, Jr. 

54. J.F.White 

55. W.E.Buff 

56. Paul H. Reynolds 

57. B.D.Jones 

58. Preachers' Tent 

59. Horrace & Helen Jatton 

61. Harold Sherrill 

62. James D. Michael 

63. Annie H. Nelson 

64. H.D. Sherrill 

65. Lee B. Killian 

66. L.C. Dellinger 

67. H.A.Jonas 

68. J. L. Dellinger 

69. J.W.Henkel 

70. J.S. Hallman 

71. Frank Howard 

72. Ray E. Cloninger 

73. Newton Smith 

73. Betty S. Gabriel 

74. Key Howard 

75. Robby K. Howard 

76. J. Glenn Sigmon 

77. Laura A. Norwood 

78. Cecil M. Dellinger 

79. Lee & Marion Cherry 

80. James C. Sifford 

81. James Barker 

82. Brenda Brantley 

83. Zetta Thompson 

84. Ralph& Janet Sherrill 

85. Richard Kaufman 

86. D.W. Barkley 

87. Virginia Edwards 
89. Katie Brown 

89. Chris Brown 



293 



89. David Brown 

89. William Brown 

90. Kathleen Goodson 

91. BobMundy 

92. Don Cherry 

93. Murphy A. Cronland 

94. Billie May Sorter 

95. Robert E. Howard 

96. Everette Dellinger 

96. Colleen Dellinger 

97. Mildred Little 

98. R.P. Aiken 

99. John C. Barker 

100. Harold Howard 

101. Jessie Nixon 

102. G.B.Sigmon 

103. M.L. Little 

104. E.Y.Howard 

105. Lester & Bertie Little 

106. Gary Little 

107. S.M. Brotherton 

108. Troy & Joanne Brotherton 

109. S.M. Brotherton 

110. Fannie C. Little 

110. TonySherrill 

111. Jim & Susan Sherrill 

112. Mrs. Seab Howard 

113. CoyBergan 

114. Lou Ann & Shirley Sanders 

115. Billy Richards 

116. Paul A. McConnell 

117. J.A. Mundy 

118. J.G.Edwards 

1 19. Floyd Lewis Howard 

120. Ann R.Howard 

121. Brooks & Helen Robinson 
121. R.R.Howard 

123. Donald A. Arndt 

124. Daisy Brotherton 

125. Erenst Newton 

126. Janie P. Seitz 

127. ED. Little 

128. Clay & Joyce Stutts 

129. James P. Brotherton 

130. Z.D. Brotherton 

131. Hayy & Pinkey Taylor 

132. B.L.Luckey 

133. R.W. Cline 



134. Jeanette P. Cornelius 

135. James M.Hucks 

136. Yates K. Wilkinson 

137. Bobby N.Harris 

138. Donald & Peggy Lutz 

139. Willis & Dorothy Gregory 

140. J. Rodney Sherrill 

141. Mrs. F.H. Hannah 

142. Dean & Sheila Dellinger 

143. Michael & Linda Bost 

144. Rita H.Parker 

145. M.L. Lineberger 

146. D.H. Holdsclaw 

147. J.W.Nixon 

148. Frank Cherry, Jr. 

149. G.W. Sigmon 

150. Richard Howard 

151. Helen Smith 

152. Henry Sherrill 

153. Forrest E. Ross 

154. M.K.Ballard 

155. Doyle P. Gilliland 

156. Everette Caldwell 

157. I vey Proctor 

158. Donald Caldwell 

160. Preston Beal 

161. John Harris, Jr. 

162. George W. Hoyle 

163. Halley Blythe 

164. Charlie M. Killian 

165. Mrs. T.M. Crowe 

166. Albert Lynch 

167. Jerry Hicks 

168. Boyd Dellinger 

169. Kemp Dellinger 

170. Charles & Janie Michael 

171. George Michael 

172. David G. Stroupe 

173. CordieHill 

174. R.M. Nixon 

175. Jerald P. Sigmon 

176. Mrs. J.M. Little 

177. Mrs. Russell Hager 

178. Mrs. J.P. Mundy 

179. Mrs. Georgia Stephen 

180. Catherine M. Long 

181. David C. Hager 
181. R.C. Hager 



294 



182. Jesie Duckworth 

183. Mrs. Mildred Morrison 

184. Mr. & Mrs. John Howie 

185. Ilene Hager 

186. B.A. Dellinger 

187. Harold Perkins 

188. Dallas V. Barker 

189. Mrs. John Goodson 

190. Ned Nan tz 

191. W.M.Link 

192. W.G.Mcintosh 

193. Avery Black 

194. Clifton Jones 

195. Gladys A. Starnes 

196. John E. Hunsucker 

197. Benny Barker 

198. Eugene Cherry 

198. Fred & Wanda Reynolds 

199. Mr. &U Mrs. Harold Cherry 

200. Billy Nance 

200. Peggy N.Wilkinson 

201. Barbara, Linda, Craig Ballard, Sr. 

202. Albert F. Hager 

203. Clafton H. Sherrill 

204. J.E. Black 

205. Mrs. Lois Beam 

206. G.M. Sherrill 

207. G.M. Sherrill 

208. James D. Michael 

209. Hugh Sherrill 

210. G.M. Sherrill 

211. E.L. McConnell 

212. Mrs. Frances Sherrill 

213. Clafton H. Sherrill 

214. Harold Harwell 

215. Roy Lee Abernathy 

216. O.M. Abernathy, Jr. 

216. Louise Moore 

217. Mary Mundy A. Watson 

218. Mrs. O.M. Abernathy 
218. Pauline A. Bolenhamar 

218. O.M. Abernathy 

219. Mary Watson 

220. Ronnie M. Sherrill 

221. J.A. Mundy 

222. Mary Watson 

222. Susan A. Jones 

223. Martha L. Edwards 



224. Thelma Mae Proctor 

224. Barbara Bennett 

224. Jane Lowe 

224. Betty Carpenter 

225. Edwin Proctor 

226. Kirby D. Dellinger, Jr. 

227. Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Reinhardt 

227. Mr. & Mrs. Walter Reynolds 

228. James T.Hucks 

229. Bobby Dellinger 

230. Russell Dellinger 

231. Tommy Brotherton 

232. Vergie Mundy 

233. Mrs. Navada Mundy 

234. Ralph Carpenter 

235. Ralph Carpenter 

236. Ralph Carpenter 

237. Shirley Ross 

238. Ralph Carpenter 

239. Ralph Carpenter 

240. Bobby Lineberger 

241. Lawrence & Joey Goodson 

242. Idabelle Schronce 

243. Carroll Goodson 

244. W.C.Harris 

245. Donnie P. Harris 

246. Paul Greene, Sr. 

247. Kevin Long 

248. Bobby G. Dea ton 

249. Robert & Gill Overcash 

250. Bessie Karriker 

251. Larry & Jean Workman 

251. Neffie Hager 

252. Ben Nixon 

253. J.W. & Helen Dellinger 

NOTE: Family owners are very reluctant to 
transfer tent ownership from the names of their 
deceased family members. You'll find names on 
the above list that had been dead forty years or 
more in 1987. 



295 



1988 

Female Minister Breaks Tradition, 
Or Did She? 

"This is my first time being at campmeeting, much less preaching 
at one... But in walking through the camp this morning, I felt the 
presence of God, who has been worshipped on this site for over 
100 years. ..I've been first at a lot of things/' 

Rev. Caren Bigelow 

A message of resurrection was delivered from the pulpit Thursday 
morning, August 11, 1988, at Rock Spring Campground. 

History was also made. 

For the first time in the camp's history, a woman minister led the 
worship service. 

Though only a few years ago this would have been heresy, Rev. Caren 
Bigelow, pastor of Steelbury United Methodist Church in Charlotte, is 
one of a growing number of ordained women serving in North Caro- 
lina. 

As showers threatened, a tolling bell high in the arbor's rafters called 
the faithful to gather. The small crowd lifted their voices, filling the air 
with "Rock of Ages," just as many generations had before them. Men- 
tion of this heritage opened Bigelow's message. 

"This is my first time being at campmeeting, much less preaching at 
one," she told the group. "But in walking through the camp this morn- 
ing, I felt the presence of God, who has been worshipped on this site for 
over 100 years." 

Admittedly nervous before the service, Bigelow said she isn't sur- 
prised to be the first woman to preach at the camp. 

"I've been first at a lot of things," she said. 

A 30-year-old new mother in a tropical print dress, with short black 
hair and striking features, Bigelow's appearance alone strikes down ste- 
reotypes of the old-maid servant of God. She grew up in a troubled Char- 

296 



1988 



lotte family, the church becoming her sanctuary - a haven against the 
turmoil at home. And though as a young girl she felt the call to minis- 
ter, Bigelow didn't realize it was possible until rooming with a woman 
ministerial student at Scarritt College in Nashville. Bigelow had been 
working towards a degree in Christian Education. 

"I would have probably ended up going to seminary anyway," she 
said. "My Christian Education classes just weren't answering the ques- 
tions I had. I wanted to go a little deeper." 

Bigelow followed future husband Bryce to California where she en- 
rolled in and completed theological studies at Claremont College. 

By 1985, the desire to return to North Carolina surfaced. The cli- 
mate here, once unaccepting of a woman in the ministry, had changed. 
Bigelow and her husband, a systems engineer at IBM, returned. Coming 
home to minister in her own city was, she said, "all I ever wanted." 

She is vibrant and enthusiastic about her ministry, yet candid about 
the obstacles she has faced solely because of gender. 

She tells some funny stories - letters addressed to "Brother Bigelow" 
and phone calls from people who assume when her husband answers 
the phone, he is the minister - and some not-so-funny stories - how she 
was discouraged from being ordained in Charlotte initially and how her 
intern, a male ministerial student, has been accepted as more of a pastor 
by Steelbury's congregation in three months than she has in three years. 

Yet, Bigelow senses a growing acceptance in her flock, surprisingly 
from the very young and the very old. 

"My biggest cheerleader when I came was an 89-year-old woman. 
She called me her 'Little Preacher Girl'," said Bigelow. "Every Sunday 
evening she would call to encourage me and to tell me she was praying 
for me. But she died, and her support was gone." 

Bigelow feels it's the congregants in their middle years who are most 
troubled by being led by a female pastor. 

297 



1988 



"I like to talk with people about it," she said. "Sit down with them 
and look at why they feel the way they do. We look at the Bible where it 
says a woman should not teach in the church, then I show them the 
dietary laws in Leviticus. Just as no purpose is served in abiding by these, 
the time has passed for women to be excluded from the ministry. Yes, 
there was a time when women were not capable of teaching - women 
were uneducated. Women were property. It was not possible then for a 
woman to teach. This is no longer the case," she said. 

Bigelow looks at the opposition philosophically. "I think of how 
much harder my earlier sisters in the ministry must have had it and I 
look at what I am doing as breaking down barriers for my daughter and 
her generation." 

A simple closing prayer, an admonition to seek God openly, and the 
service was over. 

If there were any present who were troubled by having been taught 
by a female minister, their feelings were well masked. Most filing out of 
the arbor stopped to shake her hand and thank her for the message she 
had shared. 

Rev. Caren Bigelow beamed. Another barrier fallen. 

The next time a woman preaches at the campground, it will no 
longer be news. 



Publisher's Note: The above article appeared in an area newspaper during 
campmeeting 1988. Histoiy was not made, however, as f.B. Ivey in his 
memoirs mentions a female preacher at the 1878 campmeeting. (See Vol. I) 



298 



1988 



Some 19th Century Rules Relaxed 

July 18 (Monday) - An eerie ghost town aura surrounds Denver's 
Rock Spring Campground this time of the year. Rows of weathered clap- 
board tents line overgrown footpaths; windows without panes flaunt 
curtains, whipped into rages by the wind; abandoned porches crumble 
as weeds poke through cracks; an occasional crushed can rusts in the 
weeds. A rolling ball of tumbleweed would make the scene complete. 

But on Aug. 5, as the faithful begin arriving for the 159th annual 
two-week session of worship and fellowship, the grounds will come to 
life. By the 8th, the transformation will be complete - from ghost town 
into boom town. Even now, a pounding hammer and a rumbling bull- 
dozer hint of the camp's reawakening as tenters ready their temporary 
homes for August meetings. 

In muggy afternoon heat, Matt Potter, a Denver Plumbing employee, 
hooks up a septic system; Monroe Howard finishes a staircase and a fam- 
ily struggles to tear up rain-damaged particle board covering the floor of 
their loft. 

"It used to be people was glad just to have running water," said 
Potter, as he crawled under a sink, channel locks in hand. "Now it's got 
to be out of a tap and they want a commode to go with it." 

He's not complaining - just making comment on one of the many 
changes that have taken place over the years at the campground. 

The relaxing of strict 19th century regulations affects daily camp 
life more than the passing of privies. 

Among the rules abandoned, according to an historical article by 
Lily Estelle Sigmon, is one requiring men and women to sit apart during 
services under the arbor. Those bold enough to sit with a girlfriend or 
even a spouse suffered a penalty of "no less than $5." 

Selling watermelons, lemonade, ice cream or confectioneries within 
one-half mile of the arbor was also prohibited. Perpetrators risked a fine 
of "no less than $5 or more than $25." The same fines were imposed on 

299 



1988 



anyone found guilty of operating a barber stand or painting at an easel. 

Then there were regulations regarding the watering of horses at the 
spring and the feeding of cattle at the site. Allowing one's cattle to graze 
uncontrolled could net the animal's owner a hefty $50 fine. 

Trials for those charged were held in a jailhouse, built away horn 
the tents to quell the amusement of passersby straining to hear the pro- 
ceedings. 

While some customs may have changed, this session promises an 
"old-timey" campmeeting spirit, says camp minister Gene McCants. As 
the session's organizer, McCants looks for speakers known for their spit- 
fire style of preaching. 

"We probably have more shouting and walking up and down than 
in a usual worship service," he said. "But campmeeting is different than 
Sunday morning services. After worship on Sunday people go home. 
Here they fellowship into the night, wander around, stop and visit, eat, 
visit some more, then eat again - especially ham biscuits. A lot of ham 
gets eaten at campmeeting. And another great thing about the week is 
the drought is usually broken." 

Another aspect of the meeting Rev. McCants hopes will have an 
old-fashioned quality is the attitude of worship campers bring with them. 

"I hope folks will come to experience spiritual revival, not just with 
the attitude, 'Oh, well, it's time for our yearly vacation.'" 

"I'd just like for us to have an old-fashioned revival experience here 
- one which will help the entire community," he said. "I really hope it 
will be a time of spiritual renewal for all those who come out." 

1988's campmeeting will open with the 5th's Little Sing, featuring 
local choirs and quartets. The next day's Big Sing will present profes- 
sional groups. The Vanguards, The Winebargers and The Masters are all 
scheduled to perform. 

Terry Barker, Gene McCants and Gerald McCants will speak on Little 

300 



1988 



Sunday, the 7th. The 8th through the 13th, Gerald McCants will preach 
at 8 p.m. Morning speakers for the 11:30 service during the week will be 
Revs. E.M. Dellinger, Eddie Black of Denver United Methodist Church, 
Elton Strickland of Lake Norman, Caren Bigelow of Steelbury UMC in 
Charlotte, and Grady Barringer. 

A children's program will be held at 10 a.m. beginning the 8th. A 
youth program, led by Tim Rogers at 9:15 a.m., will also get underway 
that week. 

During campmeeting on Big Saturday, Aug. 13, an open auction 
will be held to sell Lot 174, located on the outside row of tents behind 
the arbor. A concrete slab has been poured on the site; however, the lot 
does not have a permanent structure. The last lot sold which included a 
tent went for $5,000. "Some are saying the lot alone will go for that 
much this time," said McCants. "It all depends on how much interest 
there is." 

Regardless how much the lot sells for, its buyer will have to abide by 
construction codes followed for generations: no building during camp 
week, no painting exterior boards and no shingles for roofing. Tent build- 
ers also must comply with one additional stipulation - something the 
campmeeting's founders never dreamed of - absolutely no air condi- 
tioners. 



301 



1988 



Crowds Flock to Rock Spring Arbor 

August 6 (Saturday) - An estimated crowd of 1500 spectators flocked 
to the old wooden arbor at Rock Spring Campground Saturday night for 
spiritual music and fellowship under the open skies. 

Masked by giant oak trees, the nighttime sky remained clear for 
gospel singing by The Vanguards, The Masters, The Winebargers and 
The Houston Family. 

Camp minister Gene McCants said he was pleased with the Big Sing 
turnout. Some 600 worshippers attended the Little Sunday sermon. 

Following yesterday's morning service, an old-timey picnic was 
spread out on campgrounds. McCants said about 70 people were dressed 
in authentic and handmade old-fashioned clothes from the 1800s. An 
antique horse and buggy provided transportation for the camp minis- 
ter, who spoke on the theme of "Imitators Being Imitators of God." 

McCants' twin brother, Rev. Gerald McCants of Florence, SC, will 
lead each 8 p.m. worship service throughout the week. 

Rev. Gene McCants, from Webbs Chapel and Bethel United Meth- 
odist churches, is involved in his third campmeeting. "I enjoy just be- 
ing with the people. I see it as a great spiritual gathering. I enjoy every 
aspect of it," he said. 

Ben and Kay Nixon of Denver are staying in a tent that's been in the 
Nixon family for more than 100 years. "Don't ask me how old it is. They 
used to bring the cows and chickens with them when they came. I know 
that," said Nixon, who was born in May 1945, and attended campmeet- 
ing in August of the same year. 

To fight off unwanted guests, Kay Nixon comes in the week before 
campmeeting and washes their tent from top to bottom. Then she sprays 
for bugs. 

"The first year we tented here 15 years go, we didn't have running 
water," she said. Some tents now have private bathrooms. Many have 
concrete floors, but the majority try to maintain a primitive atmosphere 

302 



1988 



and spread straw or sawdust on their dirt floors. 

Folks will have an opportunity to become permanent camp resi- 
dents this week when Tent No. 174 is offered for sale by auction. 

Nixon said tents can only be vacant for two years before they are 
auctioned. "They (camp board of trustees) don't let them stand idle," 
Kay Nixon added. "I hear they're going for around $3,000." 

The purchase of a tent lot only provides the owner with the privi- 
lege to use the land. Tent owners lease campground land for $45 a year. 




Monroe Howard 



303 



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305 




Ready for the Meet 

Lincolnton native Virginia Abernathy Edwards relaxes in the swing hanging from 

the rafters at her tent at the Rock Spring Campground. The tent has been in her 

family since 1829. Mrs. Abernathy, who now lives in Gastonia, says she is 

always ready for campmeeting time. 



306 




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307 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1988 



BALANCE IN CHECKING ACCOUNT: 

Tripp Callaway 
Jolley & Sons 
Computing Unlimited 
U.S. Post Office 
Duke Power Co. 
Petroleum World 
Claremont Wholesale 
Lincoln Times News 
Gary Holbrooks 
Claremont Wholesale 
Lincoln County Water 
Duke Power Co. 
U.S. Post Office 
Red & White Store 
Denver Plumbing 
Turbyfill Hardware 
Red & White Store 
Electrical Distributors 
Tommy Harrill 
The Martins 
The Winebergers 
The Houstons 
The Vanguards 
Statesville Concrete 
Monroe Howard 
Eddie Black 
Elton Strickland 
Red & White Store 
Gerald McCants 
Gene McCants 
Brian Hicks 
Chris Holbrooks 
Carolyn Temple 
Seth Kieby 
Agnes Phillips 
Tim Rogers 
Tim Rogers 
Johnny Roseboro 
J.W. Sigmon 
Joe Irvin 
Rosa Cosby 
NCNB (CD) 
Duke Power Co. 
Lincoln County Water 
Lincoln County Water 
Duke Power Co. 
Lincoln County Water 
Lincoln County Water 





$10,271.36 


6-3-88 


$210.00 


6-15-88 


39.90 


6-18-88 


40.00 


6-22-88 


75.00 


6-24-88 


274.16 


6-25-88 


9.33 


7-27-88 


412.09 


7-27-88 


11.94 


7-27-88 


300.00 


8-1-88 


15.65 


8-1-88 


9.86 


8-1-88 


76.82 


8-1-88 


11.50 


8-1-88 


18.21 


8-3-88 


52.00 


8-5-88 


57.50 


8-5-88 


3.14 


8-5-88 


12.73 


8-6-88 


35.00 


8-6-88 


300.00 


8-6-88 


300.00 


8-6-88 


300.00 


8-6-88 


300.00 


8-8-88 


338.61 


8-8-88 


55.00 


8-9-88 


40.00 


8-9-88 


40.00 


8-12-88 


18.77 


8-12-88 


425.00 


8-12-88 


350.00 


8-12-88 


150.00 


8-12-88 


150.00 


8-13-88 


250.00 


8-12-88 


300.00 


8-12-88 


35.00 


8-12-88 


250.00 


8-12-88 


84.52 


8-15-88 


400.00 


8-15-88 


155.00 


8-23-88 


93.40 


8-30-88 


33.34 


9-15-88 


10000.00 


10-5-88 


1634.60 


10-25-88 


419.03 


11-28-88 


21.94 


12-6-88 


275.16 


1-3-89 


100.00 


1-5-89 


167.00 



308 



Arbor Collections for 1988 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-6 


Sat. 


$734.00 (Gave to singers) 


8-7 


Sun. A.M. 


$932.00 


8-7 


Sun. P.M. 


$160.00 


8-8 


Mon. 


$131.00 


8-9 


Tue. 


$157.00 


8-10 


Wed. 


$210.00 


8-11 


Thu. 


$160.00 


8-12 


Fri. 


$246.00 


8-13 


Sat. 


$308.00 


8-14 


Sun. 


$1926.00 


TOTAL: 




$4,964.00 



309 



1989 

Tenting on Old Campground Endures 

July 25 - Dwight Callaway, 43, has missed campmeeting only once 
- during a polio scare. 

Now head trustee at Rock Spring Campground, Callaway says people 
return to campmeeting year after year to live for two weeks in the rough- 
hewn wooden tents that have been a tradition of religious fellowship 
for nearly 160 years. 

"Nobody really thinks about not coming because it is such an im- 
portant part of our lives. The tents are passed down through families 
and are usually sold only when families move away or lose interest in 
campmeeting." 

The tent used by Callaway's family was given to him by his mother. 
Callaway's sister, Gailya Cherry, said even the polio epidemic couldn't 
keep her away from campmeeting. 

"Most people didn't go to campmeeting the year of the big polio 
epidemic in the early '50s. Our family stayed home, but I snuck up there 
anyway," she said. "I don't think anyone knew I went up there, but I just 
couldn't stay away." 

While Rock Spring Campground now resembles a deserted - albeit 
neatly manicured - ghost town, it will be anything but that when 250 
families move in this weekend for the 159th session of campmeeting. 

Campground trustees and tent owners alike are gearing up for Little 
Week, which begins Friday night. The second week of campmeeting is 
known as Big Week. 

And while a handful of tenters already have moved into the primi- 
tive wooden shelters, the majority will wait until Friday and Saturday. 

In fact, Callaway's wife, Kay, prepares enough ham to make some 
500 biscuits, much to the pleasure of hungry campers. 

Other campers like Ella Gardner and Mary Watson come for the 
simplicity of life and the chance to see relatives and friends they haven't 
seen in a year. 

310 



1989 



Their mother, a Mundy from Denver, brought the twins, now 55, to 
campmeeting when they were little girls. In 1970, the women built their 
own tent - reestablishing their roots. 

"We started coming to campmeeting regularly in 1969," said 
Gardner, now a Pageland, SC, resident. "In 1970, one of the trustees 
suggested that we build our own tent. We took him literally." 

The sisters worked on the tent for 35 days, and without help fash- 
ioned the two-story tent, complete with a roof that doesn't leak, run- 
ning water and a commode. 

Sunday, in the solitude before campmeeting, Gardner and Watson 
held their annual family reunion. More than 60 relatives representing 
four generations attended. 

Watson, a Matthews resident, keeps a meticulous journal of cousins 
and family members "once removed," all stemming from the original 
nine members of their mother's family. She updates it annually. 

"We like to come here because we can read, sleep and eat whenever 
we want," said Watson. "And cuss about the weather." 

"My husband teases me because I like air-conditioning at home. 
Whenever I complain about the heat, he says, 'You can swelter at camp- 
meeting and think it's just wonderful.' But campmeeting is special." 

So special, in fact, that trustees have rebuilt after three fires in a 20- 
year period and have spent $25,000 this year revamping the compound's 
electrical system. 

Tenters paid an additional $25 rent this year to cover the expense. 
The base camping fee to cover electricity, water and upkeep for two weeks 
is $45. 

Tents that are sold go for nearly $9,000. 

Beginning with performances by area church groups at 7 p.m. Fri- 
day, Little Week will feature a singing Saturday night by three quartets 
and morning and evening worship services through the week. 

311 



1989 



Services begin Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. and continue at the 
same times daily through Aug. 13, Big Sunday. Pastors from area churches 
will be preaching and a children's ministry will be held weekdays at 10 
a.m. and following evening worship. 

Church choirs also will perform through the week. 

For those who have never attended campmeeting before, Callaway 
recommends bringing lawn chairs. The open-air arbor in which services 
are held has limited seating and fills quickly to overflowing, especially 
on Sunday mornings. 



312 



1989 



Old-Fashioned Campmeeting 

August 6 (Sunday) - Some dressed in 19th-century costume and 
arrived in horse-drawn carriages. 

This was, after all, a time to celebrate a 159-year-old tradition. 

The mellow chime of the church bell called more than 400 wor- 
shippers to an old-fashioned outdoor campmeeting Sunday at Rock 
Spring Campground. 

The bell signaled a time of quiet. A time to listen - and remember. A 
time to worship. 

"People come from all over North Carolina and other states to stay 
in the tents," said campground head trustee Dwight Callaway. 

And Sunday the Rev. Gene McCants - dressed in the garb of an 1800s 
circuit preacher - called his parishioners to worship with the chime of 
the campground bell. 

The people came, carrying pillows to cushion the wooden pews of 
the open-air sanctuary, or arbor, and lawn chairs. Infants and toddlers 
were settled on blankets on the ground or in laps. 

McCants asked for reassurances of "Amen" and "Hallelujah" from 
the gathering. The sermon, based on the hymn "How Great Thou Art" 
and Psalm 111, encouraged people to recognize and marvel at the "ac- 
complishments of God." 

"We can see an athlete and marvel at his talent and ability, but we 
forget to marvel at the work of God that is that athlete," McCants 
shouted. 

"We ought to be as excited about God as we are about the Charlotte 
Hornets. We ought to be as excited about God as we are about J.R. Reid. 
When was the last time you looked at God with awesome wonder? God's 
love is a great love. Be moved by it." 

McCants gave an altar call, speaking loudly over the hum of insects 
in a nearby wood and the rustle of fans fashioned from the worship 
bulletin. 

313 



1989 



"Don't let your want of dinner hold you back from coming forth to 
accept Christ! If you have conflict, come to Jesus today!" 

No one came forward, but a little boy seated under the arbor scooped 
up an armful of straw and dumped it on his sister's head. Laughter spread 
through the gathering and, after a final hymn, the service ended. 

Families immediately retired to the shade of their tents for Sunday 
dinner. 

The heavy air held the lingering smell of country ham, fried chicken 
and barbecue even after meals were finished and people rocked quietly 
on their porch swings. 

"People come back here because it is tradition," said McCants, who 
has preached at the campmeeting four years. 

"We had a large crowd today and a larger crowd at Saturday night's 
singing than we've had in a few years. There seems to be a little more 
excitement about attending. It has certainly become an important part 
of my life." 

McCants preached as minister of the Rock Springs Charge of the 
United Methodist Church, which oversees the campground. He said that 
when he is transferred to another church, he, like the other members of 
the Rock Spring family, hopes to return every year. 



314 




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315 




The Rev. Gene McCants arrived in a horse-drawn wagon 



(Right) Tommy Brotherton stands at the doorway of his 

tent 




Mary Watson (left) of Matthews and her twin sister 

Ella Gardner of Pageland, SC, read the paper at Rock 

Spring Campground. 




316 




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317 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1989 





May 1, 


1989 through Aril 30, 1990 




5-16-89 


Lisa Saxton 


#365 


$50.00 


6-22-89 


U.S. Post Office 


366 


21.25 


6-24-89 


Lake Electric Co. 


367 


5000.00 


6-27-89 


Duke Power Co. 


368 


185.81 


7-3-89 


Turbyfill Hardware 


369 


38.68 


6-30-89 


Tony Harris 


370 


55.00 


7-10-89 


Claremont Wholesale 


371 


166.65 


7-10-89 


Cook & Boardman Inc. 


372 


441.00 


7-11-89 


Duke Power Co. 


373 


25.94 


7-11-89 


Gary Holbrooks 


374 


300.00 




Void 


375 




8-2-89 


Lake Electric Co. 


376 


5000.00 


8-3-89 


Radio Shack 


377 


118.06 


8-3-89 


Brian Hicks 


378 


150.00 


8-3-89 


Chris Holbrooks 


379 


150.00 


8-4-89 


Gary McCorkle 


380 


35.00 


8-5-89 


Radio Shack 


381 


34.60 


8-5-89 


The Masters 


382 


350.00 


8-5-89 


The Whisnants 


383 


350.00 


8-5-89 


The Vanguards 


384 


350.00 


8-5-89 


The Echoes 


385 


350.00 


8-8-89 


Nancy Rankin 


386 


35.00 


8-10-89 


Gary Baldwin 


387 


35.00 


8-11-89 


Camillia Phillips 


388 


330.00 


8-11-89 


Gerald Collins 


389 


425.00 


8-11-89 


Gene McCants 


390 


350.00 




Void 


391 




8-11-89 


Eric Little Trucking Co. 


392 


550.00 


8-11-89 


Cloninger Trophies 


393 


24.66 


8-11-89 


Norma Jean Houston 


394 


300.00 


8-11-89 


Eddie Houston 


395 


250.00 


8-11-89 


Tim Rogers 


396 


330.00 


8-11-89 


Tim Rogers 


397 


20.00 


8-13-89 


Amy Dellinger 


398 


50.00 


8-13-89 


East Lincoln Rescue Squad 


399 


100.00 


8-16-89 


Cook & Boardman Inc. 


400 


105.00 


8-20-89 


Johnny Roseboro 


401 


450.00 


8-28-89 


Galaxy 


402 


28.56 




Void 


403 




8-29-89 


Jones Fish Camp 


404 


150.00 


10-9-89 


Lake Electric Co. 


405 


10000.00 


10-18-89 Lincoln Co. Water 


406 


469.93 


10-18-89 Claremont Wholesale 


407 


155.63 


10-18-8S 


1 Dellinger Septic 


408 


126.00 


10-18-89 Duke Power Co. 


409 


1348.00 


11-7-89 


Lake Electric Co. 


410 


7729.09 


12-5-89 


Lincoln Co. Water 


411 


20.00 


12-5-89 


Duke Power Co. 


412 


226.55 


2-20-90 


Denver Plumbing 


413 


260.00 


2-20-90 


Lincoln Co. Water 


414 


100.00 



318 



BALANCE AS OF 4-28-89 



$7,957.24 



DEPOSITS 

DEPOSIT FROM CD ACCT. 

INTEREST 

TOTAL 



23,069.00 

10,797.90 

344.02 

42.168.13 



LESS EXPENSES 
TOTAL 



-37.240.78 
4,927.38 



Arbor Collections for 1989 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-5 


Sat. 


$801.00 (Gave to singers) 


8-6 


Sun. A.M. 


$1144.00 


8-6 


Sun. P.M. 


$146.00 


8-7 


Mon. 


$141.00 


8-8 


Tue. 


$162.00 


8-9 


Wed. 


$237.00 


8-10 


Thu. 


$229.00 


8-11 


Fri. 


$231.00 


8-12 


Sat. 


$1309.00 


8-13 


Sun. 


$1934.00 


TOTAL: 




$5,336.00 



319 



1990 



ROCK ^SPRINGS CAMP- GROUND 
' P'ift. BOX 204 
DENVER.. N.C. 23037 

Another year of campmeeting is upon us. We are looking forward to 
this to be a Happy and Joyous time for everyone- A time to reflect on 
the past and a time to enjoy the "NOW GENERATION". 

The trustees are asking all tent owners. that have tents that need 
repair or complete reconstruction to have this work- completed by Jul" 
27. 

The gates will be locked once again this year on August 2 at 3800 P«M. 
for the duration of Campmee t mg . However if there is anvone 
' Handicapped or oust Yieeds assistance to get in or out please let one 
of the trustees know or come by tent * 16. 

The Tan and Utilities for each tent is $50.00. Please make checks 
payable to Rock Springs Campground, P.Q. Bo>; 204, Denver , N.C. ?B037 - 
If You have any questions or need information, yon may call Gary 
Holbrooks at 70<i-d83-2002 or 704-483-9669.' 

June 23, 7:30 A.M. is our scheduled WORKDAY. please come out an.d 
help clean up the Campground. Please bring Gloves, Lawn.nowe,p?.~, Rake's , ' 
and Yourself. Dinner will be provided at', noon. . ■»' 

Look to see you at Campmeeting. 

Chairman of Board: Clyde Armstrong '„ 

Trustees: Terry Barker, Gary McCorkle, Johnny Si gmon , ' Dwi grit 
Calloway, Jerry Dellinger, Joe Ervin, Jerry Sjgmon, Gary Holbrooke 



320 



1990 



Campmeeting, a Valued Tradition 

August 5 - The day dawned quietly, with the only stirrings being a 
few people out for a walk. Here and there, campers sat outside their 
tents sipping coffee and looking over the morning newspaper. 

Teenagers walked together with an air of practiced indifference, and 
the tantalizing smell of French toast, waffles and pancakes permeated 
the still air. 

Later in the morning, horses and wagons jingle and rumble through, 
stirring the dust and officially opening Old Fashioned Day at the Rock 
Spring Campmeeting. 

During the morning worship service, dressed-up campers paraded 
through the grounds in their poke bonnets, wide-brimmed hats and 
brogans, the women's long skirts skimming the ground. 

At the campground, even though it's not far from the hustle and 
bustle of busy NC-16, time seems to stand still for two weeks each year 
in August. 

Once in the center of the 161-year-old religious and social meeting 
ground, sitting under the central wooden arbor, it seems more like 1890 
than 1990. Somehow indoor plumbing and electricity are luxuries when 
compared to the open-slatted tents. 

Catherine Hallman Neal of Iron Station sat around chatting with 
some friends in front of Tent No. 71, not far from the arbor. Neal has 
missed only one year of the Methodist campmeeting since she was five 
years old. That's the year polio was running rampant, and the camp- 
ground was closed for fear of spreading the dreaded disease. 

"I wouldn't miss it for anything," she said, taking a pause from read- 
ing the newspaper and conversing with friends Dot Ellerbe and Eliza- 
beth Turner, both of Charlotte. 

A morning shower - tradition says that it will rain at least once 
during campmeeting - barely dampened the grounds. 

"The rain cooled things off some, but unless you get a lot of rain, it 

321 



1990 



gets as hot as it was before," Neal said. 

Her friend Turner was a pretty rare bird at this week's meet. It's her 
first time at the campmeeting. "I like it. I'm enjoying it," she said. 

While some youngsters played a combination game of baseball/ 
stickball out in the center of the campground, nine-year-old "camp- 
ground squirrels" Clint Davis and Jeff Austin climbed over and through 
the rafter beams supporting the tent roofs. 

Eventually, Jeff's mother Debra of Atlanta, GA, made the boys climb 
down. There were too many people sitting near the tent, she said, and 
they could fall on someone. 

"Come back tonight and I'll show you how I can climb up on the 
roof," freckle-faced Clint said, to the groans of nearby adults. 

Church services under the arbor Sunday night were blessed with 
long-awaited rain showers beating the tin roof, but Dr. John Fowler, camp- 
meeting featured preacher horn Asbury United Methodist Church in 
Huntersville, relied on the amplification system and carried on. Fowler 
noted that he had visited the campground with his grandmother, Stella 
Mundy. 

"You just got to be here," said Bill Moore, 41 -year campmeeting 
veteran. Moore's grandparents, William and Flora Little, were the first in 
his family to start the tradition. 

Mrs. Little just passed away this past year and her grandson says she 
attended campmeeting 86 of her 92 years. 

Billy, his wife Phylis, and their children Kelly, Randy and Michael 
always set up their tent early and camp out overnight most of the time. 
Even Fancy, their Shetland sheepdog, keeps them company though Billy 
says all of the activity makes her a little nervous. 

"The main thing I get out of campmeeting is visiting with people I 
haven't seen in a long time," said Moore. "It's just instilled in you, but 
it's a lot of hard work to get to work in Charlotte at 8:30 every morning, 

322 



1990 



and Phylis sleeps at home because she has to be in Davidson at her job at 
7:30." 

Though the Moores usually fare on sandwiches and whatever is easy, 
Phylis says it is a challenge to see how many menu items she can get out 
of one skillet. 

In Tent No. 107, Virginia Brotherton can be found. Mrs. Brotherton 
calls it tentin'. That means you settle in and stay all day, all week. It's 
sort of semi-tentin' if you move in but go to work on a regular schedule. 

"Daddy moved us in and then would go back part of the day to do 
our chores, but Mama and us kids stayed all day," she said. "Late in the 
week Mama would go home to kill a couple of chickens for Sunday din- 
ner." 

Mrs. Brotherton is a 71-year campmeeting veteran and has a great 
appreciation for the church services. 

"I was glad to see the 1 1 a.m. daily services start up again." Most of 
the changes she noted were quiet days while most people are at their 
jobs. Her parents were Zeb and Bessie Brotherton. 

The concession is operated this year by the East Lincoln Band Boost- 
ers to help fund the marching band's November trip to Hollywood, Cali- 
fornia. 



323 




Old Friends, New Friends 
Catherine Hallman Neal, Dot Ellerbe and Elizabeth Turner share some conversation. Neal 
and Ellerbe have both been coming to the annual campmeeting since they were little girls, 

but this year was Turner's first time. 







■I 




Campmeeting veterans Phylis, Billy Moore and Fancy 



324 



Arbor Collections for 1990 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-4 


Sat. 


$867.00 (Gave to singers) 


8-5 


Sun. A.M. 


$1428.00 


8-5 


Sun. P.M. 


$103.00 


8-6 


Mon. 


$189.00 


8-7 


Tue. 


$245.00 


8-8 


Wed. 


$346.00 


8-9 


Thu. 


$228.00 


8-10 


Fri. 


$381.00 


8-11 


Sat. 


$1330.00 


8-12 


Sun. 


$2337.00 


TOTAL: 




$7,454.00 



325 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1990 



Date 


Written to 


Amount 


Interest 


Ser. Chg 


12-5-89 


Lincoln County 


$ 20.00 


23.02 


.30 


12-5-89 


Duke Power Co. 


226.55 






1-90 


No Checks Written 




22.95 




2-20-90 


Denver Plumbing Co. 


260.00 


20.62 


.45 


2-20-90 


Lincoln County Water 


100.00 






2-20-90 


Duke Power Co. 


100.00 






3-90 


No Checks Written 




21.39 




4-6-90 


GaryHolbrooks 


300.00 


19.53 


.15 


5-90 


No Checks Written 




19.92 




6-21-90 


U.S. Post Office 


50.00 






6-23-90 


Petroleum World 


10.46 


19.31 


.30 


6-23-90 


Dwight Callaway 


31.20 






7-21-90 


Cokerbury (New song books) 


1909.63 


20.45 


11.32 


7-23-90 


Lincoln County Water 


100.00 






7-26-90 


Denver Fire Dept. 


600.00 






7-27-90 


Chris Holbrooks 


300.00 






7-28-90 


Terry Barker 


33.00 


43.23 


20.73 


7-31-90 


Dwight Callaway, Jr. 


40.00 






8-3-90 


U.S. Post Office 


6.50 






8-3-90 


E. Lincoln Fire Dept. 


200.00 






8-3-90 


E. Lincoln Rescue 


200.00 






8-4-90 


The Houstons 


350.00 






8-4-90 


The Hayes Family 


350.00 






8-4-90 


The Whisnants 


350.00 






8-9-90 


Danny Keever 


35.00 






8-8-90 


Raymond Hamick 


35.00 






8-7-90 


Gene Richardson 


35.00 






8-10-90 


Roland Barnhardt 


35.00 






8-10-90 


Dan Brown 


350.00 






8-10-90 


Wanda Luckey 


150.00 






8-10-90 


Mary Watson 


50.00 






8-10-90 


Mark Vickers 


350.00 






8-10-90 


Gene McCants 


400.00 






8-10-90 


Eddie Houston 


250.00 






8-10-90 


Norma Jean Houston 


330.00 






8-10-90 


John Fowler 


425.00 






8-10-90 


Tracey Houston 


50.00 






8-10-90 


Denver Plumbing 


85.00 






8-90 


Johnny Roseboro 


450.00 






8-25-90 


Denver Galaxy 


115.33 






8-10-90 


Checks 


5.04 






9-26-90 


Duke Power Co. 


1729.05 


54.39 


9.95 


10-8-90 


Claremont Wholesale 


324.95 


52.56 


1.67 


10-8-90 


Lincoln County Water 


856.19 






10-8-90 


Denver Plumbing 


28.00 






11-90 


No Checks Written 




49.02 


1.17 


12-3-90 


Duke Power Co. 


238.88 






12-13-90 Duke Power Co. 


74.50 


50.65 


2.85 


BALANCE AS OF DEC. 31, 1990 


$13,837.77 







Deposits 



3035.00 



11386.64 



4485.00 



194.00 



326 



1991 

They Still Rock the Tents at Rock Spring 

Neither a polio epidemic nor a fire that gutted the wooden tent 
where he was staying could keep Sam Moore from attending the Rock 
Spring Campmeeting. 

He's been to 80 of the Denver revivals in a row, the first as a new- 
born baby who rode in a covered wagon from his family's homestead 
near Stanley. 

A stroke he suffered five weeks ago slowed his speech and gait but 
didn't curtail Moore's resolve to attend this year's revival, which began 
Sunday. 

How could he pass up the fiery sermons under the 159-year-old 
wooden arbor, the chats with old friends who've become like brothers 
and sisters, the hugs and kisses of his 1 1 great-grandchildren? 

"The campmeeting makes me feel young," Moore, 80, of Stanley 
said this week. "I've got a lot of energy right now." 

It's gained national attention as one of the oldest continuous camp- 
meetings in America. A film crew for CBS newsman Charles Kuralt shot 
a segment at the meeting Sunday for a documentary on North Carolina 
life and customs. It will air on public television sometime this winter. 

The Rev. Gene McCants of Denver, camp minister, estimated nearly 
2,000 people would attend the revival this week. 

Many, like Moore's granddaughter Denise Shifflett, are part of fami- 
lies that have been coming to the revival for generations. 

While visiting Iran in the late 1970s, Shifflett, 33, said she dreamed 
that she smelled the aroma of country ham cooking in the camp's tents 
and heard the patter of rain on their tin roofs. She had to get back, she 
said. 

And when her cousin Kim Allen returned to Charlotte after six years 
in Australia, "We got off the plane, washed our clothes and came right 
to the camp meeting," Allen said. "It didn't matter that I had really bad 
jet lag being on a plane for 24 hours with four kids." 

327 



1991 



It's tough to explain to strangers who don't even know what it means 
to "rock a tent." 

Lincoln County historian Gaither Shrum once remarked that "they 
make as many souls as they save there." What he meant was that many 
a man and woman have fallen in love at the campmeetings in the heart 
of Denver. George and Mary Ann McAlister, both 64, are living proof. 

They fell in love 44 years ago, he picking her out of 1 1 young women 
crammed into a nearby tent who would steal clothes from his lodging. 

"I was the only one who would talk to him," jokes Mary Ann 
McAlister. 

She went home to Cornelius that Sunday never thinking she'd see 
him again. He stopped by the very next day, from his Iredell home 8 
miles away. They now have four grown children. 



328 




329 



Campmeeting 1991 



Children's Ministry: Dr. Dan Brown 

Youth Ministry: Delaine MacDonald 

Camp Minister: Rev. Gene A. McCants 

Campmeeting Preacher (Aug. 4 - 10) Rev. Dave Cash 

Little Sunday Preacher (Aug. 4, 1 1 a.m.) Rev. Gene Richardson 

Big Sunday Preacher (Aug. 11,11 a.m.) Dr. Harold Wright, 

Charlotte District Superintendent 
Music Ministers: 

Choir Director: Mrs. Norma Jean Houston 

Nighttime Pianist: Eddie Houston 

Bass Guitar: Tracy Houston 

Weekday Pianist: Wanda Lucky 
Sunday School Teachers: 
Butch Abernathy 
Terry Barker 
Weekday Preachers: 

Monday: Howard Kiser 

Tuesday: Caroll Flack 

Wednesday: Keith Franklin 

Thursday: Dale Troutman 

Friday: Larry Rowell 
Visiting Choirs - Big Week: 

Sunday Night: Bethel 

Monday Night: Webbs Chapel 

Tuesday Night: Harmony Ministries 

Wednesday Night: Hills Chapel UMC 

Thursday Night: Thompson Memorial Evangelical Methodist 

Friday Night: Fairfield UMC 

Saturday Night: Lauri Johnson and Sisters 
Visiting Quartets Big Sing: 
The Houstons 
The Masters 
The Crystal River Boys 
Special Events: Sunday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m., the Charles Kuralt film crew will be at the campground to film a 
segment for his program on North Carolina. We invite all of you, actually encourage all of you to return to 
the arbor for the filming. He asks that we stage a "meeting" for the camera at that time since he cannot be 
at our 1 1 a.m. service nor at the 8 p.m. service. Your cooperation will be much appreciated. 

Monday, Aug. 5, the East Lincoln Clergy Association will meet. 

Wednesday, Aug. 7, the Young at Heart of East Lincoln County will meet for lunch. 

You are all invited to join the campmeeting choir each Sunday and each night to bless each meeting with 
songs and praise. If you wish to make this campmeetin' one of the best ever, come on out and join our 
choir! 

God bless you and yours during this time together, 
Pastor Gene A. McCants, Camp Minister 

330 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1991 



Date 


Written to 


Amount 


Interest 


Ser. Chj 


12-31-90 BEGINNING BALANCE 


$13837.77 






1-31-91 


Duke Power 


72.10 


48.16 


12.06 


2-28-91 


Duke Power 


72.10 


43.24 


11.92 


3-20-91 


Jones Fish Camp 


208.85 






3-26-91 


Gary Holbrooks 


300.00 






3-28-91 


Duke Power 


72.10 


47.60 


12.60 


4-1-91 


Claremont Wholesale 


20.48 






4-30-91 


Duke Power 


73.10 


44.31 


11.99 


5-31-91 


Duke Power 


72.10 


45.63 


11.83 


6-14-91 


U.S. Post Office 


75.40 






6-22-91 


Petroleum World 


36.91 






6-28-91 


Duke Power 


72.10 


44.85 


15.78 


6-28-91 


Claremont Wholesale 


731.29 






7-11-91 


Sigmon Hardware 


56.00 






7-11-91 


Tony I.oftin 


100.00 






7-12-91 


Randy Mahaffey 


350.00 






7-31-91 


Duke Power 


139.53 


50.46 


19.55 


7-23-91 


Ballard Roofing 


3915.00 






8-2-91 


Modern Electric 


1058.10 






7-30-91 


U.S. Post Office 


7.25 






8-3-91 


The Houstons 


350.00 






8-3-91 


The Masters 


350.00 






8-3-91 


Crystal River Boys 


350.00 






8-6-91 


Westport Tree 


243.00 






8-7-91 


Sarah Nixon 


225.00 






8-6-91 


Carol Hank 


35.00 






8-3-91 


Steve Reel 


30.00 






8-7-91 


Tern - Barker 


32.88 






8-8-91 


Mary Watson 


50.00 






8-8-91 


Dale Troutman 


35.00 






8-8-91 


Larry Powell 


35.00 






8-8-91 


Denver Fire Dept. 


600.00 






8-8-91 


East Lincoln Fire Dept. 


200.00 






8-8-91 


Gene McCants 


400.00 






8-8-91 


Delaine MacDonald 


350.00 






8-8-91 


Dave Cash 


425.00 






8-8-91 


Norma Jean Houston 


300.00 






8-8-91 


Eddie Houston 


250.00 






8-8-91 


Wanda Luckey 


150.00 






8-9-91 


Dan Brown 


350.00 






8-9-91 


Chris Holbrooks 


300.00 






8-9-91 


Tim Rogers 


272.30 






8-13-91 


Eric Little Trucking 


125.00 






8-19-91 


Galaxy 


54.39 






8-19-91 


Cloninger Trophies 


40.18 






8-29-91 


Johnny Roseboro 


500.00 






8-30-91 


Duke Power 


1358.03 


83.14 


55.72 


9-4-91 


Claremont Wholesale 


360.67 






9-6-91 


Lincoln County Water Dept. 


732.96 







Deposits 



1300.00 



2650.00 



13198.50 



331 



Date 


Written to 


Amount 


Interest 


Ser. Chgs. 


Deposits 


9-6-91 


Lincoln County Water Dept. 


100.00 








9-30-91 


Duke Power 


845.10 


92.79 


17.94 


2739.18 


10-31-91 


Duke Power 


85.20 


90.98 


14.51 




1-5-92 


American Concrete 


185.71 








1-5-92 


Ballard Roofing 


827.00 








1-5-92 


Claremont Wholesale 


186.68 








1-5-92 


L.C. Dellinger Bldg. 


1029.97 








1-6-92 


Charlotte Paint Co. 


9945.00 








1-29-92 


Duke Power 


72.83 


62.06 


14.93 


605.00 


2-23-92 


Claremont Wholesale 


12.08 








2-31-92 


Duke Power 


77.00 


48.30 


12.65 








$29,503.39 


$701.46 


$211.48 


$30,492.60 




ENDING BALANCE: 


$15,292.10 









Arbor Collections for 1991 



DATE 


DAY 


8-3 


Sat. 


8-4 


Sun. A.M. 


8-4 


Sun. P.M. 


8-5 


Mon. 


8-6 


Tue. 


8-7 


Wed. 


8-8 


Thu. 


8-9 


Fri. 


8-10 


Sat. 


8-11 


Sun. 


TOTAL: 





AMOUNT 

$895.00 (Gave to singers) 
$2638.00 

$216.00 

$188.00 

$203.00 

$205.00 

$233.00 

$244.00 

$288.50 

$1798.00 

$6,908.50 



332 



1992 

Under-Arbor Renovations 

In July of 1992, old pews were removed from the arbor and new 
ones put in place. 

Trustee and expert woodcraftsman Bill Ballard sawed the material 
for the new pews. Volunteers assisted him in the assembly of the new 
ones during the month. 

The pulpit area was also renovated with a rock wall being placed 
around the platform. 



333 



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334 



Arbor Collections for 1992 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-1 


Sat. 


$1010.00 (Gave to singers) 


8-2 


Sun. A.M. 


$1569.00 


8-2 


Sun. P.M. 


$177.00 


8-3 


Mon. 


$193.00 


8-4 


Tue. 


$1506.00 


8-5 


Wed. 


$200.00 


8-6 


Thu. 


$271.00 


8-7 


Fri. 


$320.00 


8-8 


Sat. 


$543.00 


8-9 


Sun. 


$3570.00 


TOTAL: 




$9,359.00 



335 



1993 

Some Say They Have Been Coming Forever 

Camper Sarah Nixon said, "I've been coming to campmeeting for- 
ever. Roy and I did our courting here before our wedding 46 years ago." 

Four years ago the Nixons built a new tent. It's the biggest single 
tent on the campground, boasting a large dining room/kitchen area, a 
bathroom, front room and a sleeping loft the size of two bedrooms. The 
Nixons, who live not far away, are day campers. 

"If we're not on the front porch, we're in that big kitchen," she says. 
"Our daughter Miriam buys country ham and we help smell up the camp- 
ground." 

Campmeeting has always been a place of feasting as well as wor- 
ship. In the early days, before refrigeration, campers put their live chick- 
ens in coops and brought them along. Dried fruits and vegetables, such 
as "leatherbritches" (dried green beans) were the convenience foods of 
the day. Cakes, pies and jams were special treats. Chicken and ham were 
fried in a pan over an open fire. 

Freshly killed beef was stored in large stone jars. The jars were bur- 
ied in the dirt "floors" of the tents. Campers poured water around the 
jars to keep the meat cool. Water was carried from the spring and kero- 
sene lamps and laterns were used for light. 

Anywhere there is a feast, there is bound to be fellowship. The Nixons 
can attest to that. "For the last four years, we've held the Nixon family 
reunion at the campground," says Sarah. "I look forward to seeing people 
I don't see any other time except campmeeting." 

Sarah tells of her friends Jimmy Meritt, formerly of Charlotte, and 
his wife, Norrie Hager Meritt, a Denver native. They currently live in 
Cincinnati, Ohio. "We wouldn't miss it," Jimmy told Sarah. "We drive 
down to Denver every year and our car automatically turns onto the 
campground road." 



336 



1993 



Rock Spring Campmeeting Agenda 

The Annual Rock Spring Campmeeting will begin with "Little Sing- 
ing" featuring local talent in the arbor on Friday, July 30, at 8 p.m. 

Camp minister is the Rev. Lee Ellis of the United Methodist Church 
in Kimesville, near Mount Pleasant. 

"Big Singing" will be held in the arbor on Saturday July 31 at 8 p.m. 
The following professional gospel groups are scheduled to perform: The 
Carter Family from Gaffney, SC; The Melody Masters of Spartanburg, 
SC; and The Southerners from Lincolnton. 

"Little Sunday" worship service is set for Sunday Aug. 1 at 11 a.m. 
in the arbor, with the Rev. Ted Hendrix, of the United Methodist charges 
Webbs Chapel and Bethel, officiating. 

Sunday School will be conducted in the arbor on both Sundays at 
10 a.m. 

Children's programs will be held Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. 

Youth programs are scheduled nightly at 9:30 Monday through Fri- 
day. 

Evening worship services will be held in the arbor at 8, every night 
except "Big Sunday." 

"Big Sunday" worship service will be celebrated on Sunday, Aug. 8 
at 11 a.m. in the arbor. This service will close campmeeting for 1993. 
The final message will be delivered by the Rev. Lee Ellis. 



337 



1993 



Losing Tradition 

Sometimes things change and you welcome that change, perhaps 
even rejoice in it. But occasionally when things change, it leaves you 
feeling hollow inside, wishing for days past. I had such a feeling in early 
August at a place woven deep into the history of my family and my 
community - Rock Spring Campground. 

I have often tried and always failed to explain "campmeeting" to 
strangers to this tradition. Campmeeting began as a Methodist revival 
and has evolved into a full-fledged social gathering of the entire town of 
Denver, North Carolina. A huge, wooden, straw-floored arbor serves as 
the site of nightly preachings and gospel singings. Rows of cabins with 
tin roofs, which campers call "tents," encircle the arbor. For the first two 
weeks in August for over one-hundred years now, folks have come here 
together to celebrate campmeeting. 

I had been to campmeeting only a couple of times over the past few 
years. So when my parents asked if I would like to join them and my two 
nephews on their overnight excursion, I accepted. After all, night life 
moves at the speed of a wounded turtle in Denver, and as a child I ranked 
spending a night at the campground right up there with going to Disney 
World. I treasured the memories I held of that place and felt pleased to 
be going there again. 

We packed our clothes and a cooler, loaded the car and took off on 
the ten-minute journey to Rock Spring Campground. The familiarity of 
the place made me happy; it seemed not to have changed one bit. The 
dusty, circular path along which people of all ages circle time and time 
again held a steady stream of campers: tots on tricycles, teens in their 
back-to-school clothes, who occasionally disappear into the darkness 
for a quick kiss, and adults stopping at old friends' tents to say hello and 
perhaps be invited in for a ham biscuit or a cup of coffee. I kicked off my 
shoes to take a lap around, but was constantly stopping to pick pebbles 
out of the bottom of my feet. I don't recall ever having that trouble 

338 



1993 



before. I guess my feet used to be tougher when I spent my summer days 
carefree and barefooted on my grandfather's farm. 

Visiting at several tents, I began to notice something I had never 
noticed before at campmeeting - grapevine gossip. As I continued around 
the circle, I couldn't help speculating about what was being whispered 
of me. "I believe she's put on a few pounds at school." "Her hair looks 
different. Maybe she's dying it." 

Rounding the final corner, I stopped at "the shack," known to most 
as a concession stand. No longer did I have to strain on tiptoe to view 
the usual array of shack items like paddle balls, neon water guns, and 
my personal favorite, pink candy lipstick. I settled for a black cherry 
milk shake, but as soon as I sipped, guilt surfaced. I had unfortunately 
reached the age of counting fat grams. Leaving the shack, I opted to take 
the forbidden way back, a two-foot wide path sandwiched between the 
Sigmon's tent and a busy road. As I rounded the path and entered our 
tent, my mother's voice came out of my mouth as I reminded my neph- 
ews to never take "the dangerous way." 

As the night progressed, so did my allergies, a nuisance I have ac- 
quired with adulthood. Sneezing and rubbing my itchy eyes, I began to 
regret my decision to stay the night. With no Seldane to be found, I slid 
in the bed with mama and daddy. We spent the night yanking the patch- 
work quilt back and forth trying to lie on our sides so that once again we 
would all three fit in a double bed. 

After a restless night, I awoke to what now struck me as the most 
disgusting smell in the world - frying bacon. As I watched my family 
devour a pound of meat, I cut my cantaloupe, grateful that I had heard 
that speech on animal rights my freshman year. 

My stomach still queasy, I pulled on my cotton sun-dress and strolled 
to the arbor for Sunday preaching. I listened as the minister's clear, South- 
ern voice rang through the open arbor, but soon my thoughts drowned 

339 



1993 



out his words. After courses in western civilization and religion and a 
suitemate who introduced me to reincarnation, I no longer felt com- 
fortable with the old-fashioned sermon on heaven and hell. And as I sat 
on the wooden bench, I began to feel sad. I was losing touch with a 
tradition that once meant so much for me. 

Just then the preacher's change of tone caught my attention. "Page 
243. Let's all stand." As I stood, the familiar notes brought me out of my 
daze. Looking around at my friends, my family and my hometown, I 
realized that I was still part of this community - of this tradition. And as 
we sang "Old Rugged Cross," I closed the hymnal against my chest and 
smiled, for I knew the words by heart. 

Kristen G. Mundy 

Kristen G. Mundy Cathey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Mundy of 
Denver, wrote the above article in 1993 while a student at Meredith College. 
It was published in Acorn, an annual publication of the college. 



340 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1993 



$ 110.65 

50.00 

210.50 

68.40 

78.47 

78.40 

96.74 

8000.00 

15.00 

98.93 

78.40 

96.84 

8000.00 

98.93 

15.00 

103.66 

400.00 

400.00 

400.00 

413.40 

548.39 

7.25 

54.92 

600.00 

300.00 

250.00 

425.00 

200.00 

300.00 

50.00 

200.00 

600.00 

200.00 

180.00 

60.00 

150.00 

150.00 

90.00 

150.00 

125.00 

125.00 

200.00 

10.73 

1118.00 

357.37 

363.59 

9270.00 

1052.87 

2135.25 

69.00 

10-29-93 Duke Power 78.56 



1-29-93 


Duke Power 


2-17-93 


Smitty's Printing 


2-26-93 


Duke Power 


3-10-93 


Jones Fish Camp 


4-30-93 


Duke Power 


5-25-93 


Gary Holbrooks 


5-28-93 


Duke Power 


6-21-93 


C. Nelson Sigmon 


6-22-93 


Lakeshore Press 


6-30-93 


Duke Power 


5-25-93 


Gary Holbrooks-Stamps 


5-07-93 


Duke Power 


6-21-93 


C. Nelson Paving-Road 


6-08-93 


Duke Power 


6-22-93 


Lakeshore Press 


7-08-93 


Duke Power 


7-31-93 


The Southerns 


7-31-93 


The Melody Masters 


7-31-93 


Carter Family 


8-04-93 


Sign Here 


8-04-93 


Denver Plumbing 


8-05-93 


U.S. Post Office 


8-07-93 


Terry Barker-Supplies 


8-11-93 


John Roseboro 


8-07-93 


Norma Houston 


8-07-93 


Eddie Houston 


8-07-93 


Lee Ellis-Preacher 


8-07-93 


Gene Richardson 


8-07-93 


Gene Richardson-Youth 


8-07-93 


Man - Watson-Tent Deputies 


8-07-93 


East Lincoln Fire Dept. 


8-07-93 


Denver Fire Dept. 


8-07-93 


Ted Hendri.x 


8-07-93 


Chris Hudson 


8-07-93 


Steve Ford 


8-07-93 


Jeff Warlick 


8-07-93 


Todd Richard 


8-07-93 


Donnie Sain 


8-07-93 


Lee Caskey 


8-07-93 


Rhonda Martin 


8-07-93 


Annette Lawing 


8-07-93 


East Lincoln Rescue 


8-18-93 


Galaxy 


8-22-93 


WNCC Treasure Flood Rel. 


8-31-93 


Duke Power 


9-1-93 


Claremont Wholesale 


9-9-93 


C. Nelson Sigmon - Paving 


9-9-93 


Lincoln Counts' Water 


9-30-93 


Duke Power 


9-21-93 


Jones Fish Camp 



341 



12-15-93 Tony Sigmon-Mowing 75.00 

12-31-93 Duke Power 83.76 

EXPENSES: $29,676.28 

SERVICE CHARGES: 103.95 

INTEREST: 72.79 

DEPOSITS: 22,952.00 

BALANCE AS OF 12-31-93: $2,942.02 



342 



Arbor Collections for 1993 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


7-31 


Sat. 


$1042.00 (Gave to singers) 


8-1 


Sun. A.M. 


2568.00 


8-1 


Sun. P.M. 


$260.00 


8-2 


Mon. 


$225.00 


8-3 


Tue. 


$239.00 


8-4 


Wed. 


$226.00 


8-5 


Thu. 


$281.00 


8-6 


Fri. 


$356.00 


8-7 


Sat. 


$402.00 


8-8 


Sun. 


$1965.00 


TOTAL: 




$7,564.00 



Special Flood Relief Offering Sunday 1 1 18.00 
TOTAL: $8,682.00 



343 





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345 




Tenters still do some things the old-fashioned way, as Pinkie Taylor demonstrates with her 

dishpans. 



346 




The Old-Fashioned Way - Leslie Sherrill uses a bucket of water and a dipper to wash a 

tomato as she prepares a meal. 



347 



1994 

Campmeeting Collectible Available in 
Limited Numbers 



June 30 - Van Barker, Jr., a member of the board of trustees for his- 
toric Rock Spring Campground in Denver, announced the commission- 
ing of a limited edition collectible in honor of the bicentennial celebra- 
tion of campmeeting. 

Barker revealed that a special design, limited to 144 plates, is being 
made by Hunter Mfg. Co. of Lexington, KY. According to Barker, Hunter 
is considered to be the premier American firm producing imprinted glass- 
ware. The plate design features a sketch of the arbor on the front with 
historical information on the back. 

Lincoln County native Jane Anderson Myers, now a Florida resi- 
dent, executed the drawing in 1981. It was previously available in the 
form of 100 numbered and signed prints. 

Rock Spring officials are expecting the 144-piece offering to sell out 
quickly and increase in value due to the low quantity being made. 

"It's almost unheard of to have such a small production run on a 
glassware product, especially by a firm like Hunter," said Barker. "In fact, 
very seldom do they consent to less than 5,000 pieces. They understood 
what we were attempting to accomplish and after some pleading, agreed 
to the small number." 



348 




Rock Spring Bicentennial Plate 



349 



THE ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 

1994 SCHEDULE 

August 5 - August 14, 1994 



CHOIR LEADER 
PIANO-CAMPMEETING 
CHILDREN'S PROGRAM 
YOUTH PROGRAM 
CAMPMEETING PREACHER 



NORMA JEAN HOUSTON 

EDDIE HOUSTON 

ANNETTE LAWING & RHONDA MARTIN 

REV. GENE RICHARDSON & CHAD 

BISHOP ERNEST A. FITZGERALD 



LITTLE SINGING - FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 1994 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring 

"Local Talents" 

BIG SINGING - SATURDAY, AUGUST 6, 1994 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring 

"The Regals" from Spartanburg, S.C. 

"The Masters Quartet" from Chesnee, S.C. 

"The Houston Family" from Maiden, N.C. 

Worship August 7, 11:00 a.m. 

Worship August 14, 11:00 a.m. 

Rev. Ted Hendrix 

TIME OF SERVICES 

Sunday School 10:00 Both Sundays 

Evening Worship 8:00 p.m. Each Evening 

Children's Program 10:00 a.m. Monday- Friday 

Youth Program 9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday 

PARTICIPATING CHOIRS AND MUSICIANS 

Music for Evening Services 

Little Sunday- Bethel United Methodist Church Choir 

Monday - Salem United Methodist Church 

Tuesday - Fairfield United Methodist Church 

Wednesday - Hills Chapel United Methodist Church 

Thursday - Denver United Methodist Church 

Friday - Bari L. Hendrix 

Saturday - Congregational Selections 

Sunday Morning Worship "The Campground Choir" 



350 



ROCK SPRING CAMPGROUND 
P.O. Box 7.04 
Denver, N.C. 28037 

704-735-2203 



Campmeet ing time is here! Hope ynn're ready for an 
exciting time at the Arbor for our Bicentennial 
Celebration August 7th. 

July 16, 7:30 A.M. is our scheduled work day. 
Please take a look at your tent and make all necessary 
repairs . 

The Trustees are asking all tent owners to please 
make sure that their tents have Adult Supervision. 
Article No. 9 of the Laws & Regulations of Rock Springs 
Camp Ground States that The Warning bell will ring at 
Midnight, at which time walks are to be cleared and 
guiet maintained throughout the Camground. The trustees 
are asking all tent owners to make sure this guiet time 
is understood and observed. 

We all want to remember Mr. D.B. Dellinger's family 
in our thoughts and prayers. Mr. Dellinger was a 
trustee for many years, his dedication and faithfulness 
to the Rock Springs Campgound will be greatly missed. 

The tent tax and utilities for each tent is $75.00. 
Please make check payable tc Rock Springs Camp Ground 
and mail to above address. Please put tent number on 
check. Thank You. 

Looking forward to an exciting and fulfilling 
campmeeting. Thank you for your cooperation and prayers 
for a successful year. 

Board of Trustees 



THE COMMITTEE ON RECORDS AND HISTORY 
ROCK SPRING CAMP MEETING 

August 7, 1994 promises to be a special and memorable day for Rock Spring 
Camp Meeting I We have gotten permission from the Rev Ted Hendrix, the Camp 
Meeting minister, and the Trustees to have a day of celebration in honor of the 
bicentennial anniversary of camp meeting in this area 

August 7 is Little Sunday this year and people will be encouraged to dress in 
old-fashioned clothes all day long Here is the tentative schedule: 

1 1 :00 AM Morning worship service 
5:00 PM • Picnic Supper on the grounds around the arbor 
7:00 PM - Bicentennial Celebration worship service 

There will be historical displays (old articles, mementoes, photographs, artifacts, 
etc.) under the arbor during the supper on the grounds for people to view at their 
leisure WE NEED YOUR HELPI If you have any such items in your possession, and 
would not mind having them in the display, please contact Scottie Barker (483-2710) 
as soon as possible The more information we have on display, the more interesting it 
will be 

The evening worship service will not be a preaching service, but will instead be a 
time of music, testimonials, and historical commemoration. Come prepared to share 
your stories and memories of Rock Springs Camp Meeting! 

At the 1993 Camp Meeting, we began production of a video about 200 years of 
camp meeting. We will continue shooting footage at this year's event This video will 
be available once it is edited and put into final form sometime after this year's Camp 
Meeting has ended 

At this point, it looks like we will have several items to help commemorate the 
bicentennial: fans, T-shirts, and plates All items will have a bicentennial theme We 
need to begin now taking advance orders for the plates so we can get a somewhat 
accurate estimate of how many to order. Each plate will have a picture of the arbor on 
the front and a brief historical sketch on the back Please fill out the following order 
form. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BICENTENNIAL PLANS, PLEASE 
CONTACT REV. GENE RICHARDSON (46C-6407). 



Name: 
Address 



# of plates: x $15 00 = $ Total amount to pay 

send this form and check to Carolyn Temple, P.O. Box 608, Denver, NC 28037 

make your check payable to "Rock Spring Camp Ground" 

DEADLINE FOR ADVANCE ORDERS IS JUNE 15, 1994 



352 



1994 



History Unearthed 



July 30 - Chronicles concerning the campground continue to be 
uncovered from time to time or dug up, as was the case just last week. 
While grading a vacant lot for a new tent, an almost forgotten chunk of 
concrete with historical connections was unearthed. 

"It's about three feet square in size, so I thought it was something 
they used years ago for mounting horses," said Ronnie Barker, who dis- 
covered the buried cube. 

Actually, 71 years ago, July 4, 1923, the ground's trustees instructed 
Charles Gabriel, a member of the board, to build a cement bed for the 
light plant. Apparently, having not been used for many decades, the 
concrete had accumulated several inches of dirt on top, resulting in it 
being unnoticed by present day campers. 

Prior to an electrical company serving the grounds, a Delco system 
produced electricity to light the campus. It was a generator and battery 
combination which was quite a modern convenience for the era. 

The discovery by Barker is a small bit of the campground's many 
historical pieces; however, 
it was of utmost impor- 
tance to the campers of 
Rock Spring Campground 
nearly a quarter of a cen- 
tury ago. 




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353 



1994 



Old-Fashioned Worship 

August 2 - Eight generations have walked the dirt paths surround- 
ing Rock Spring Campground, home of one of the area's most enduring 
rural religious traditions. 

Teenagers are making the rounds just like their great-grandparents 
once did, and adults have swung wide open the doors to their weather- 
beaten plank shacks that are symbols of the ground's heritage. 

Scottie Barker breaks into a broad smile when asked about the spec- 
tacle. "It is unexplainable," said the 42-year-old, who sets aside the first 
two weeks of August every year for campmeetings. "You grow up in it," 
said the Denver resident. "It is part of your heritage. You just love it." 

Sam Moore remembers hauling water from the spring and finding a 
toilet wherever a discreet bush or tree could be found. The Stanley resi- 
dent came to Rock Spring as a baby in 1911 and has never missed a 
campmeeting during his 83 years. 

"We came by covered wagon," said Moore, whose grandmother lived 
near the grounds. "For years and years we all came. I just love to come to 
Rock Spring to see everybody." 

Moore's wife, Angie, says the old hymns sung during the services 
still bring tears to her eyes. "A lot of times when you're out in the arbor, 
they start shouting," she said. "You really feel the spirit of God." 

The Rev. Gene Richardson didn't feel much when he first saw the 
empty grounds five years ago. "It looked like a bunch of horse stables," 
said the Charlotte city boy who had only heard of campmeeting until 
coming to Denver. 

"But a couple of weeks later when the people started to come in, 
you're just dumbfounded," said Richardson, pastor of two nearby United 
Methodist churches. 

The Moores, who tore down a 145-year-old home for the planks to 
build their fourth Rock Spring tent, still get a kick out of seeing young 
people stroll by, some hand-in-hand, in the camp's version of hanging 

354 



1994 



out. 

"I remember that," the 81-year-old Mrs. Moore said. "Now, Sam, I 
mean you. I'm not counting all those other ones earlier." 

"It is a kid's paradise," Richardson said. "The rules are relaxed out 
here." 



355 



1994 



Schedule for 1994 

August 3 - "Campmeeting shall continue to be held embracing the 
week before and the second Sunday in August of each year," Rock Spring 
Campground trustee Terry Barker read. 

Voices will echo through the campground Friday night at 8 p.m. as 
the 200th annual campmeeting begins with the Little Singing. 

The traditional kickoff used to feature church choirs, but now local 
talent is invited, Barker said. "All who want to come and sing, I tell 
them to come on," he added. 

Big Singing on Saturday night at 8 p.m. features The Regals and The 
Melody Masters Quartet, both of Spartanburg, SC, and The Phil Turbyfill 
Family from Lincolnton. 

Church school is at 10 a.m. followed by worship services at 11 a.m. 
on both Sundays of the meeting. 

The Bicentennial Celebration begins at 4:45 p.m. this Sunday with 
the ringing of the bell. That's an old tradition handed down from the 
very beginning signifying the start of the yearly meeting, Barker said. 

People are encouraged to dress in old-time clothing for the picnic 
supper on the grounds. Following the meal there will be a service of 
campmeeting music, and longtime attendees and historians will share 
some experiences. 

Rev. W.A. Rock, Jr., will be a guest speaker at the celebration. He 
served the Rock Spring United Methodist charge, which governs the 
meeting, from 1947-51 and may be the oldest living minister that served 
the circuit, Barker said. 

A replica of the calaboose, a wooden structure which served as a jail, 
has been constructed. Chicken coops and a privy will be added to the 
artifact collection to be displayed at the celebration, Barker said. 

The row of privies that sat on one side of the grounds have been 
removed since most tents now have plumbing, he said. "About the only 
thing we used an old privy for was to put on the Rock Spring Elementary 

356 



1994 



School lawn," he added. That used to be a Halloween tradition in Den- 
ver. 

Plumbing isn't the only improvement made to the campground. A 
new electrical system has been installed that meets the building codes, 
Barker said. 

In 1993, the road around the campground was paved and a picnic 
area near the arbor was added. "We've seen all the tents built back and 
we would like to see the old hazardous tents torn down and replaced," 
he said. 

"Old things finally just fall apart if you don't keep them in repair," 
Barker said. There was some concern about altering the historical value 
of the arbor when the wooden column bases were replaced with con- 
crete. "There are things you have to do to keep your treasures," he said. 

"Our trustees are taking the position we want to make this a better 
place. We want to make permanent improvements," Barker said. Land 
needs to be cleared for additional parking and lights installed, he added. 

"We are going to have to start thinking about putting a permanent 
roof on that arbor," he said. That could cost $30,000 or more, he added. 

"You have to spend a lot of money to make lasting improvements," 
Barker said. The tent rent was increased by $20 this year. "It's going to be 
used in a way that will provide permanent benefits," he said. 

Events continue through the week with a children's program each 
weekday morning at 10:00. Bishop Ernest A. Fitzgerald will deliver the 
message each day at the 8 p.m. services. Youth services for grades sixth 
through eighth are at 9:30 p.m. and ninth grade through college at 10 
p.m. 

"We have a full schedule of services," Barker said. "There is some- 
thing here for everyone." 



357 



1994 



Veterans Association to be Reorganized 

August 4 - The year was 1894, the second Sunday in August. Speak- 
ing from the arbor's pulpit at Rock Spring Campground at the centen- 
nial celebration was head of the Lincoln County Schools, Alfred Nixon. 

"Rock Spring has a firm hold in the affections of the people and 
may it be perpetuated," Nixon said. 

It has been perpetuated and plans are shaping up to celebrate the 
campmeeting's bicentennial this year. An historical committee guided 
by Rev. Gene Richardson has scheduled the celebration for Aug. 7 at 5 
p.m. 

"It will begin with supper on the grounds," Richardson said. "We're 
encouraging all ladies of the grounds to bring a well-filled basket." 

Festivities will be held under the 1000-seat open-air arbor. There 
will be singing and speaking and displays of historical documents and 
century-old photographs relating to Rock Spring. 

At the gathering in 1894, a veteran association was organized to 
honor individuals for their longtime devotion to Rock Spring Camp- 
meeting. The planned revival of the association has sparked unexpected 
interest from longtime tenters, Richardson said. 

"The association will be a living history when campmeeting elder 
members share their memories, passing on stories of a past to a younger 
generation," Richardson said. 

Retired Lincoln County Tax Collector, Blair Abernathy, Jr., confirms 
Alfred Nixon's statement about campmeeting having a firm hold on 
those who attend. Abernathy's great-grandfather, Freeman Kelly, built 
the first tent from logs on the grounds. Kelly sold the tent to his nephew, 
Freeman Howard, who passed it to his nephew, Abernathy, in 1959. He 
said he expects the tent, which displays the painted number 1 on the 
exterior, to remain in his family for generations. 

"If Alfred Nixon could be with us on Aug. 7 to help celebrate an- 
other 100 years, he would be pleased," Richardson said. "His challenge 

358 



1994 



to perpetuate Rock Spring Campmeeting has been met. It's certain he 
would issue another summons to the present generation to safeguard 
campmeeting for another hundred years." 



359 




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360 



Veteran's Association of Rock Spring Campground 

1994 

Margaret Mundy Gabriel 

Annie Houser Nelson 

Lois Sherrill Beam 

Willie Ruth Mundy Thompson 

Nell Mundy Wade 

Florine Ballard Shuler 

Laura Asbury Norwood 

Margaret Sigmon Dellinger 

Troy Dellinger 

Ernest McConnell 

Katie Sigmon 

Agnes Proctor Cline 

Charlie Killian 

S.D. Howard, Jr. 

Vera Proctor Brotherton 

Jessie Nixon 

Lockie Howard Cherry 

Monroe Howard 

Tommy Huskins 

Beverly Dellinger 

J.W. Sigmon 

Mary Virginia Barker Dellinger 

James Barker 

Sam Moore 

Virginia Abernathy Edwards 

Elizabeth McCall Callaway 

Angeline Moore 

Mary Cherry 

Virginia Beam Dellinger 

Frances Berry 

Ruth Short Little 

Dot Yarbrough 

B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 



361 



Veteran's Association of Rock Spring Campground 

1994 

Inez Sherrill 

Ruth Little 

Sallie Gabriel 

Lucille Goodson 

Virginia Brotherton 

Azalea McConnell 

Geneva A. Dellinger 

Edna A. Howard 

Margaret Black Todd 

Catherine H. Neal 

Sarah Sigmon Spangler 

Arvelle Young 

Martha L. Edwards 

Leslie Sherrill 



362 



ROCK SPRING 



Denver, North Carolina 




BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION 



1794 - 1994 



Sunday, August 7, 1994 
5:00 PM 



363 



ROCK SPRING CAMP MEETING 
BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION 

Denver, N.C. August 7, 1994 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 



CALL TO THE CELEBRATION - RINGING OF THE BELL (4:45 PM) 

SPREADING OF "SUPPER ON THE GROUNDS" (this will be a 

covered dish meal so you do not have to bring a full meal - tables will 
be available for those who are unable to sit on the ground) 

OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY (5:00 PM) 

Welcome: Mr. Clyde Armstrong, Chairman of the Board of Trustees 
Raising of the flags 

National Anthem: East Lincoln High School Band members 
Invocation: Rev. Ted Hendrix, minister of the Rock Spring Charge 

- SUPPER ON THE GROUNDS - 

OFFICIAL BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION (located under the arbor 
and directed by Rev. Gene Richardson, chairman of the History 
Committee) 

Introduction of the Board of Trustees: Clyde Armstrong, Terry 
Barker, Van Barker, Dwight Callaway, Jr., Jerry Dellinger, Rev. 
Ted Hendrix, Gary Holbrooks, Rev. Joe Irvin, Jerry Sigmon, 
Johnny Sigmon 

Recognition of the retired Trustees: Walter Abernathy, Bill Ballard, 
Jimmy Brothterton, Dennis Dellinger (deceased), Bobby Harris, 
Billy Holsclaw, Harvey Jonas, Jr. Loy McConnell, Gary 
McCorkle, B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 

Parade of persons in old-fashioned clothes 

Guest Speakers: 

Mrs. Mercer (Peggy) Simmons, a descendent of the Asburys: 
"A Challenge To Perpetuate Camp Meeting" 

Mr. Ed Smith, local writer and historian 



364 



Rev. Gaither Scrum, past president of the Lincoln County Historical 
Association and retired Southern Baptist minister and Lincoln 
County educator 

Mr. Henry C. Barkley, Jr., retired Lincoln County educator: 

"The Importance of Camp Meeting to the Rock Spring United 
Methodist Charge" 

Rev. Harry Sherrill, minister of the Advance-Mocks United 

Methodist Charge and native of the Denver area: "Growing Up 
At Rock Spring Camp Meeting" 

Keynote Speaker: Rev. W.A. Rock, Jr., minister of the Rock Spring 
Charge (1947 - 1 95 1 ): "Remembering My Years At Rock Spring 
Camp Meeting" 

Renewal of Wedding Vows for Marsha and Danny McCall (they were 
married 25 years ago under the arbor on Big Sunday) 

Re-establishment of the Veterans Association: 
Sharing of memories by longtime attendees 
Presentation of the certificates of membership 

Old Time Camp Meeting Singing: 
Bethel UMC Choir 
The Cockman Family 
Jay Sigmon 
Bob Hager 
And others . . . 

Congregational Singing "God Be With You Til We 

Meet Again" 

Benediction: Rev. Ted 

Hendrix 



365 



Dear friends of Rock Spring Camp Meeting, 

According to a recent edition of Methodist History (July 1990), the 
Rock Spring Camp Meeting is possibly the oldest camp meeting in 
continuous existence in America. What a precious treasure of religious 
tradition we have right here in Denver, North Carolina! 

At the 1992 Camp Meeting, the Committee on Records and History 
was formed in order to begin planning for the celebration of our bicentennial. 
Who could have ever imaged that Rev. Daniel Asbury's revival meeting in 
1794 would have become the profound experience that we enjoy to this 
day? 

Our hope is to organize the historical materials (photographs, articles, 
and other mementoes) of camp meeting in a more efficient manner. Maybe 
one day we will have a camp meeting museum. Maybe. This would require 
many hours of work and we would certainly need your help. 

The commemorative plates honoring the bicentennial are still on sale 
for $15 each and will be available two weeks after Big Sunday. A proof of 
this plate is on display today. 

The official video of our bicentennial will be available in a few months 
as soon as the editing is completed by the communications specialists of 
our annual conference. 

We hope that you truly appreciate this momentous occasion as we 
praise God for the gift of revivalistic fervor which has gripped this area for 
2000 years. May God continue to bless camp meetin' as it enters into its 
third century of existence. 



In the Hope of Christ, 



(q^^ 



Rev. Gene Richardson 

Chairperson, The History Committee 



366 



Have You Ever Attended Campmeeting at 

Rock Spring? 





"No, I haven't, but it is definitely 

on my agenda. " 

Judith Cole 

Westport 



'Oh, yes, and may it continue for 

another 200 years. " 

Susan Hughes 

Denver 




"No, I've never heard of it, but I 

may check it out this year. " 

Danny Truelove II 

Mount Holly 




"Yes, when I lived in Denver, I 

worked the concession stand one 

year. " 

Margaret Rankin 

Stanley 



367 



1994 



Tenters Recall Past Meetings 

August 5 - "I was five months old when I came up here in a covered 
wagon," Sam Moore said about Rock Spring Campmeeting. That was in 
1911. 

Now, 83 years later, Moore is still there enjoying the food and fel- 
lowship and had to be called away horn the table. "He's been eating for 
over an hour," his wife said. 

Moore recalled loading the wagons and driving his grandmother 
and aunts to the grounds. "My father was driving a three-seated surrey 
that had fringe around the top - it was beautiful," he said. 

The family brought their food in a large oak box and stored wood 
behind the tent for the woodstove. "One year we brought 35 chickens 
and I wrung every one of them's neck and dressed them," Moore said. 
"We cooked four or five a day. We ran out before we went home." 

The meeting was supposed to last only one week but it always lasted 
a week and three days, he said. The minister would keep preaching and 
the people didn't want to go home, he added. 

Aside from the spiritual enlightenment received at the meeting, so- 
cializing was important. The farming community was able to forget the 
crops and enjoy the fellowship. There was a lot of courting going on at 
the meeting, Moore said. 

He said he didn't meet his wife at the campground, but he met other 
girls. "I've been married to this beautiful woman since 1934," he said. 
They have been coming to campmeeting together for 60 years. 

In 1932, Moore bought a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. "I came 
back to campmeeting and took every kid and man that wanted to ride 
on that big Harley," he said. 

The Moores tented in several locations until he bought the best 
tent on the grounds, he said. The previous owner was standing in front 
of the tent offering to sell the tent right then to anyone with $1400. 
"He said, 'I'll leave my hat and everything.'" They still use the cookstove 

368 



1994 



left in the tent. "Oh, I got a bargain," Moore said. 

As a young man of 19, George McAlister and two friends rented a 
tent at the campground in 1947. Four tents down the row, 10 girls from 
Cornelius tented with their aunt. McAlister met one of the girls, Mary 
McCall, and married her seven months later on Valentine's Day. 

"That was the first time I had tented," he said. "I stayed all week and 
only went home once. Mama had made us a banana cake and I had to go 
pick it up." 

McAlister said when he was courting his wife at campmeeting she 
went to church every night. "I had to go, too, to be with her," he added. 

The McAlisters have attended campmeeting since their marriage, 
except in 1948 when a polio epidemic kept people away. They bought a 
tent in 1956 for $200. He pointed across the row to a tent that sold this 
year for $9000 and needed $3000 in repairs. 

"I guess that was a real good move," he said about tenting that first 
time. "My wife said everything worked out," he added. "There's a lot of 
people who met their wives here," he said. 

The area was a farming community, so the campmeeting was held 
after the planting but before the harvesting. "Back then people came 
and stayed the whole week and didn't go back home," Ike Procter said. 
He has been tenting all of his 62 years. 

The boys played hide-and-seek, tag and baseball all day, Thompson 
said. It was the first time all summer friends were able to visit with each 
other, he said. "Back in my day, everybody had a paddle ball and water 
guns were popular," he added. 

Children attended a service in the morning and the youth went in 
the afternoon, Thompson said. "When Sunday came you were sad about 
leaving to go home after having such a big time all week," he said. 

Procter said he remembered the aroma of country ham and fried 
chicken. "That's all you could smell." People brought all their food, even 

369 



1994 



the chicken coop and the livestock, he said. Due to a break in the farm- 
ing, it was a vacation for the whole family, he added. 

"Campmeeting was a time when they could get away from the farm 
because later on they'd be picking cotton," he said. 

A lot of people courted at the meeting, Procter said. "I guess I did 
some, but I married a girl from South Carolina and she had never seen a 
campmeeting," he added. Mrs. Procter still doesn't attend very much. 
"You really got to be raised with this to really enjoy it," he said. 

Procter has been at the campground when travelers stopped to in- 
quire about the strange site. "They wanted to know where the horses 
and cows were. They thought this was a bunch of barns," he said. 

"Somebody that's never been here, you can hardly explain it to 
them," Jack Thompson said. 

Thompson said he enjoyed seeing family at the meeting. They came 
from Florida and New York for the event. Procter said his brother, who is 
84 and lives in Dallas, Texas, comes home every year for campmeeting. 
"Most everybody that starts when they're young don't ever quit," 
Thompson said. 

"Fellowship - that's really what this place is all about," Procter said. 
"It's just a good thing in this territory," Thompson said. "We feel 
like we're at home out here," his mother added. "It gets in your system 
and don't get out." 



370 



1994 



Sam Moore Remembers 

August 7 - Little Sunday, Big Sunday. 

Straw and sawdust on the dirt floors of the tents, actually wooden 
huts passed from generation to generation. 

Picnic hampers filled with fried chicken and country ham. 

These are the hallmarks of Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

"I think old-time camp-goers and first-time visitors will be impressed 
with the way campmeetings used to be, how we have preserved some 
practices and discarded others," says Terry Brotherton of Denver, who's 
compiling a book about Rock Spring Campground. 

Sam Moore first came to Rock Spring at the age of 1. 

"That was back in 1911. 1 am 84 now," says Moore, who lives with 
his wife, Angelene, in Stanley. "The best time I ever have is when we go 
to Rock Spring." 

In the early days, Moore's trip to the campground - in a horse-drawn 
wagon also carrying 36 live frying chickens and three large country hams 
- took eight hours. 

In later years, Moore become something of a campground celebrity 
with a new mode of transportation - a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He'd 
arrive in a flash of speed and a cloud of dust before the rest of the family, 
greeted by cheers and applause. 

"Boy, you should have seen my first Harley back in 1932," Moore 
says. "She was a beauty. Blue and gold and cost a lot of money.. .about 
$345. 1 was just about the star of campmeetings then." 

Only recently has Moore stopped riding a motorcycle, but his love 
of the campmeeting hasn't dwindled. He's passing that on to future gen- 
erations. 

"Last year, we took the grandkids, all 1 1 of 'em," he says. "They love 
campmeeting just as much as we do." 



371 



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372 



1994 



Campers Return to Sacred Place 

August 9 - In the deep heat of summer afternoon, Margaret Dellinger 
slices a damson pie at Rock Spring Campground. She made it from a 
family recipe at least 150 years old, but even that's not as old as the 
Methodist campmeeting, which celebrated its 200th anniversary this 
summer. 

"This is a sacred place and it means a whole lot to me," says Dellinger, 
79, a retired grocery store owner from Denver. "I come for all of it - the 
food and the fellowship and the preaching." 

Folks of all ages came out this month for the anniversary celebra- 
tion, camping for up to two weeks in wood frame huts called tents, 
enjoying the long tradition of nightly worship, good food and for young 
people, even a little courting. 

During a hot afternoon, not much stirred around the campground 
except for a few kids swatting a baseball between flower beds full of 
chrysanthemums and geraniums. 

Jessie Robinson, 75, of Sherrills Ford relaxed inside her tent near 
two fans, a refrigerator and a glass of iced tea. Her thoughts drifted back 
to childhood when she had to wear starched petticoats to the camp- 
meetings despite the stifling heat. Her coolest drink came from a natu- 
ral spring flowing in the shady woods. 

"This is all luxury out here now," Robinson says. "And you didn't 
go around here with dirty shoes like the kids do now." 

She grew up on a farm about 10 miles from Rock Spring. Spending a 
week at campmeeting was like a long-awaited beach trip - something 
she didn't experience until she was grown and married. 

"We were all farmers and this was the only vacation we had," 
Robinson says. 

Her Rock Spring trip began about 3 o'clock on a Saturday morning. 
Robinson and her two younger sisters climbed aboard a mule-drawn 
wagon driven by their father; the wagon bed was filled with country 

373 



1994 



hams and coops with live chickens, fresh tomatoes and green beans, 
bags of sweet apples and plenty of watermelons. The wagon rolled down 
the dirt road under the stars. 

"We'd always get to the campground around daybreak," Robinson 
says. "That's when we'd hear Mr. Dellinger's old rooster crowing. Then 
we knew we were there." 

Saturday was a time for settling in. And for chicken preparation. 
Wandering the grounds, Robinson watched dozens of women wringing 
chickens' necks or chopping off their heads with axes. 

"They'd salt the chickens down," she says, "then they'd fry 'em up 
for Sunday dinner." 

The first night of worship opened with familiar hymns Robinson 
would hear all week long; they are still her favorites: "The Old Rugged 
Cross," "Nearer My God to Thee," and "Blessed Be the Tie that Binds." 

If a thunderstorm struck, services went on anyway. 

"We just pulled off our shoes," Robinson says. "Everybody went 
barefoot." 

Campmeeting officials decreed lights out at 11 p.m. A security pa- 
trol called "the law" tried to enforce the rule but was eluded by boys 
who ran around in the dark tossing rocks on the tin roofs. Their targets: 
tents occupied by girls they'd taken a fancy to earlier in the day. 

"Campmeeting time was courtin' time," Robinson says. "You sat 
around during the day and hoped some boys would walk by. You could 
get your heart broke when campmeeting was over." 

Many of the friends Robinson made at Rock Spring meeting lasted a 
lifetime; the list includes Ernest Robinson, her husband for 52 years. 

Each summer she returns to the campground to renew old friend- 
ships. 

"I just enjoy people. That's the fun part of it," Robinson says. "It's 
always kinda sad when it's over and everybody goes home. Time always 

374 



1994 



flies here." 

A new crop of campers shares the same feelings about Rock Spring. 

Sitting in the shade with some fries and a Pepsi, 13-year-old Michael 
Moore gave the anniversary week his highest rating. 

"The preachin' was fun," Moore says. "So was seeing friends. And 
seein' the girls. Campmeeting is as much fun as Myrtle Beach." 









375 



1994 



Rock Spring Celebration Draws Crowd 

August 9 - The Rock Spring Campmeeting bicentennial was cel- 
ebrated Sunday evening with dinner on the grounds, a parade of old- 
fashion clothes and artifacts and guest speakers. 

A breeze blew through the giant trees circling the open-air arbor as 
people stood to salute the raising of the American flag while a trumpet 
solo of the national anthem echoed across the grounds. 

Historical committee chairman Rev. Gene Richardson said he was 
extremely pleased with the turnout. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime celebra- 
tion," he said. "We're never again going to have a chance to celebrate 
200 years." 

Tenters celebrated the bicentennial by constructing replicas of the 
calaboose and an outdoor privy and gathering artifacts from the past. 

Dressed in old-time clothing, attendees enjoyed fried chicken, ev- 
ery imaginable vegetable and pies of all flavors before they settled under 
the arbor to listen to the speakers. 

Local writer and historian Ed Smith talked of the importance of the 
campmeeting movement in society. He said the people were devastated 
after the American Revolution. Campmeetings are credited with reviv- 
ing an interest in religion that affected all segments of society. 

He quoted writers and pastors from the past who wrote of infidelity, 
impiety and religious contempt. "Worship was universally neglected 
while immorality flourished, " Smith said quoting a writer. 

The movement grew to meet the great need of the Christian people, 
he said. 

Local historian Rev. Gaither Shrum talked of the geographical im- 
plications of the meeting. After the Louisiana Purchase of 1802, 50 per- 
cent of the area's population migrated west, he said. 

The campmeeting movement begun in this region began migrating 
with the people into Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and west, he said. 
"It didn't necessarily travel with the preacher; it traveled with the people," 

376 



1994 



he added. 

Keynote speaker, Rev. W.A. Rock, Jr., served the charge that governs 
the meeting from 1947-51. He said he returned to this area more than 
any other he served. "It's one of the best vacations I know and a great 
religious experience for those who come into the arbor," he said. 

Past and present trustees were recognized, and other speakers were 
Mrs. Mercer Simmons, Henry C. Barkley, Jr., and Rev. Harry Sherrill. 
Marsha and Danny McCall renewed their wedding vows under the arbor 
where they were married 25 years ago. Jay Sigmon sang original songs 
written for the occasion. 

The veterans association, made up of tenters 70 years or older who 
had tented most of their lives, was reestablished. People were presented 
with membership certificates and they shared experiences horn the past 
meetings with the assembled group. 

The crowd was humorously entertained when 
a sheriff's deputy attempted to mock arrest asso- 
ciation inductee James Barker for outstanding 
fines and put him in the calaboose. The structure 
was a makeshift jail used to house disorderly at- 
tendees of the meeting. 

Richardson said the historical committee 
hoped to preserve the artifacts and documents 
from the meeting. "My dream is to get a museum," 
he said. "I want to be able to see this stuff year- 
round and keep up with the history as it goes on." 



Bicentennial Keynote Speaker, 
Rev. W.A. Rock, Jr. 




377 



1994 



Sunday Night Service Revived 

August 14 - Sunday night worship service was discontinued in 1971, 
but in 1994, Rev. Gene Richardson of Fairfield United Methodist Church 
revived the service. 

Originating with mainly members of his Fairfield congregation, the 
gathering on Sunday night, August 14 attracted about 75. 

Rev. Richardson explained at the service the official close of camp- 
meeting was the 1 1 a.m. service earlier in the day. He described his ser- 
vice as the "unofficial close of campmeeting." 

Following the benediction James Barker, Kirby Dellinger, Heck 
McCallister, Gary McCorkle and Jim Sifford lowered the two American 
flags as TAPS was played. 




The Circuit Rider Returns 

Rev. Gene Richardson, pastor of Fairfield 

United Methodist Church and chairman of the 

Campground Historical Committee, dressed 

for the occasion at the 1994 celebration. 



378 




Si 



Authentic Dress Preserved 

Many dressed for the bicentennial with reproduction clothes of the style worn during the 

early years of campmeeting. Virginia Brotherton wore preserwd clothes of her kin from 

years gone by. 

BONNET: Nancy Brotherton (1841-1921), Husband's Grandmother 

DRESS: Nan Hicks (1887-1951), Great Aunt 

SHOES: Lillie Brotherton (1872-1955), Grandmother 

SPECTACLES: Hiram Brotherton (1847-1901), Great Grandfather 



379 




Old-time dress 




Flower-draped altar 



380 




Another circuit rider returns - Re\'. Gene McCants 




Friends chat with Rev. McCants 



381 




Loy Little's hand-built buggy 




Getting ready to eat 



382 




Dinnertime 




Benny Barker's replica calaboose 



383 




Beautiful flowers around tree 




Friends gather for good old gospel singing 



384 




Friends chitchat 




- — — 



Gene Phillips 



385 




Troy Dellinger drives a wagon containing straws, a chicken coop and several children 




Having a great time 



386 




Hitching post and feed trough 




Dinner on the grounds 



387 




Descendants ofZeb and Bessie Brotherton 




The Melody Masters of Spartanburg, SC, were among singing groups at the annual "Big 

Sing" August 6. 



388 




Artifacts on display 




Cousins Martha Edwards and Virginia Brotherton 



389 




Arbor view - note horse hitching post 

^B 



C*m 









Sfel 








MB ^Nfe 




V^vn 










' "': • ' 


.♦as.* 




" 1 " 


^aaraf • - 








;i*; ;•; - ' 


















m 


























' . "~ 




'■ : Mw\ 


ii.... 















Arbor area 



390 




Taking a stroll 



391 





Members of the Denver Bhiegrass Band play in Carl 

Robinson's tent. They are (from left) Bob Hager on 

guitar, Max Beckham on fiddle and Tom Shonp on 

mandolin. 



(Left) Retired Methodist Bishop Ernest Fitzgerald of 

Atlanta delivers a sermon titled "You Can't Mend a 

Broken Light Bulb" 




George McAlister (left) and Sam Moore relax on the porch of a tent 



392 



Punk Hicks, 73, hands 

lumber to carpenters 

working on the roof of his 

tent 




393 



Mary Watson cleans out one of 
her tents 




Randy Robinson and infant daughter, 
Maggie Elizabeth 



Opal Burgin, dressed in period costume, has 
attended the campmeeting for 61 summers 



394 







co 



o 









<3 



395 




Campmeeting Historical Association chairman Re\>. Gene Richardson arrives at the 
bicentennial celebration in a buggy driven by fay Sigmon 




* * * % K i mf 



- « 



\ 



Campers gather around and under the arbor to hear fellow campers' memories of past 

campmeetings 



396 




Rachael P. Ricliard (right) made old-time dresses for granddaughter Kayla Pope, daughter 

Pam Blue and herself to wear 




Sisters Agnes Cline (left) and Vera Brotherton uncover dishes for the picnic dinner 



397 




Exploring the Past: 

Rita Lynch examines a wagon with 

her sons Mackenzie and Mitchell 

(standing) 



Mary Howard swings her 4-year-old 
grandson Taner Howard 



398 




Stacy Hicks hammers a porch section on a tent 



Donna 
Goodson gives 
Josh Long, 6, 

batting 
assistance 




399 




400 




Calvin Howie of Lowesville stands by his 1923 Model T Ford 



401 




jhf <"# *SF •*# .«c^ *jjf , 

&Sj^" B*^ «N^' fc^ », 



*qf *f *»f *# *eitf wg *yf vsf 



N^tl^^^ •* * 




/r/sf Swinging - Ike Procter and his granddaughter, Sarah Stallings, 9, sit on the swing in 

front of the family tent 



402 



Arbor Collections for 1994 



DATE 


DAY 


AMOUNT 


8-6 


Sat. 


$1263.00 


8-7 


Sun. A.M. 


$3247.00 


8-7 


Sun. P.M. 


$.00 


8-8 


Mon. 


$246.00 


8-9 


Tue. 


$325.00 


8-10 


Wed. 


$379.00 


8-11 


Thu. 


$300.00 


8-12 


Fri. 


$566.00 


8-13 


Sat. 


$318.00 


8-14 


Sun. 


$3139.00 


TOTAL: 




$9,783.00 



403 



12-31-93 Balance 


1-13-94 


Lincoln County Water 


1-31-94 


Duke Power 


2-28-94 


Duke Power 


2-02-94 


Ronnie Dedmond Surveyor 


3-04-94 


Lincoln County Tax 


3-04-94 


Andy Barkley 


3-31-94 


Duke Power 


4-20-94 


Van Barker-supplies 


4-29-94 


Duke Power 


S-31-94 


Duke Power 


6-30-94 


Duke Power 


7-11-94 


U.S. Post Office 


7-20-94 


Smitty's Printing 


7-20-94 


Tony Loftin 


7-29-94 


Duke Power 


8-01-94 


Mary Watson 


8-03-94 


Denver Pool Care 


8-01-94 


U.S. Post Office 


8-05-94 


Randy McCall 


8-05-94 


Dwight Callaway 


8-06-94 


The Melody Masters 


8-06-94 


The Regals 


8-06-94 


Phil Turbyfill 


8-07-94 


Roddi Long Grading 


8-12-94 


Terry Brotherton 


8-12-94 


Bill Isenhour 


8-12-94 


Ernest Fitzgerald 


8-12-94 


Norma Houston 


8-12-94 


Ted Hendrix 


8-12-94 


East Lincoln Rescue 


8-12-94 


Brandon Lineberger 


8-12-94 


Annette Lawing 


8-12-94 


East Lincoln Fire Dept. 


8-12-94 


Benita Burgess 


8-12-94 


Tim Rogers 


8-12-94 


Chad Mcintosh 


8-12-94 


Gene Richardson 


8-12-94 


Robin Riddle 


8-12-94 


Landmark Gallery 


8-12-94 


Rhonda Martin 


8-12-94 


Denver Fire Dept. 


8-12-94 


Ronnie Howard 


8-13-94 


Tony Sigmon 


8-13-94 


Landmark Gallery 


8-15-94 


Sigmon Farm & Garden 


8-15-94 


Killian Fuel Service 


8-15-94 


Galaxy 


8-15-94 


Steve Ford 


8-15-94 


Keith Sherrill 


8-15-94 


Jeff Warlick 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 1994 



$ 2,942.02 

155.00 

85.69 

78.47 

450.00 

33.12 

880.00 

78.47 

25.44 

78.47 

78.56 

79.81 

73.08 

45.44 

150.00 

79.24 

285.00 

137.07 

7.25 

47.77 

40.00 

400.00 

400.00 

100.00 

4555.00 

205.43 

200.00 

450.00 

300.00 

300.00 

400.00 

300.00 

150.00 

200.00 

150.00 

187.82 

150.00 

200.00 

150.00 

140.00 

150.00 

400.00 

200.00 

75.00 

53.00 

141.00 

23.91 

65.85 

60.00 

90.00 

90.00 



404 



8-15-94 Craig Rhoney 

8-15-94 Keith Sherrili 

8-15-94 Jerry Long 

8-15-94 Frank Schrapper 

8-15-94 Johnny Roseboro 

8-31-94 Duke Power 

9-03-94 Hunter Mfg.-plates 

9-15-94 Jones Fish Camp 

9-15-94 Kelly Carter 

9-30-94 Duke Power 

10-19-94 Lincoln County Water 

10-19-94 Lincoln County Tax Dept. 

10-19-94 Claremont Wholesale 

10-19-94 Toney's Cleaning & Lawn 

10-19-94 Charlotte Paint Co., Inc. 

10-31-94 Duke Power 

11-04-94 Alex Bernard 

1 1-05-94 Fairfield United Methodist Church 

11-15-94 Cooke Rentals 

11-15-94 Roddi Long Grading 

11-15-94 D.W. Cherry, Inc. 

11-15-94 Cloninger Trophies, Inc. 

1 1-15-94 Toney's Cleaning & Lawn 

11-30-94 Duke Power 

12-14-94 Duan Farm Supply 

12-14-94 Callaway Homes 

12-30-94 Duke Power 



$90.00 

90.00 

60.00 

60.00 

600.00 

242.08 

3415.00 

120.70 

100.00 

2314.69 

1852.45 

64.00 

37.67 

300.00 

1800.00 

96.30 

58.00 

84.00 

42.40 

1780.00 

3635.00 

44.32 

50.00 

80.39 

488.50 

307.95 

83.48 



EXPENSES: 

SERVICE CHARGES: 

INTEREST: 

DEPOSITS: 

BALANCE AS OF 1-1-95: 



TOTAL 



$31,071.82 

195.60 

139.89 

36,056.42 

$7,870.91 



405 



1994 



Trustees Meet 

September 15 - Campground trustees met at Jones Fish Camp. 



406 



1994 



CROP Walk Starts at Campground 

October 2 - Over 200 
people gathered at Rock 
Spring Campground Sun- 
day for the 6th Annual 
Greater Denver 10K (6.23 
miles) CROP Walk. The 
walkers began with one 
lap around the camp- 
ground and proceeded 
down Burris-Catawba 
(Sigmon) Road and back. 
CROP is the name 
given to walks and other 
local community efforts at 
hunger education and fund 
raisings for Church World 
Service. Money raised by these walks feed people, provide safe water, 
promote health care and sanitation, improve farming methods, train 
people to help themselves and provide emergency aid in times of disas- 
ter. 

Organizer Cindy Cloninger reported 229 walkers turned out. It was 
estimated that $13,000 would be forthcoming from the event, $3,000 
over the $10,000 goal. 

Rock Spring Campground tenters opened restrooms and provided 
water for the wearv walkers. 




The Denver CROP Walk covered over six miles. The 
route passed through the Rock Spring Campground 



407 



Trustees met in October of 1994 and compiled the following for consideration prior to the 

1995 campmeeting. 

"Rock Spring Campground" 
Work Schedule for J 995 Campmeeting 



Estimated 
Coat 


Work 


When 
should 
it be 
done 


in 
Charee 




1. Fmls»l Orfjll|n» Parkfnir Area 








2. Sow (irui ta P«rkhnj Area 








3. Gravel 1 Drive ta center 
ofNew Parking Area 








4. Fire Hydrant hi Arbor Are» 








S, Sdi-uv Arbor Benches 








6. Morel.lsrhtslnParktnwlxit 








7 Llstti? i( Senas 








S. Sneaker nvstom In walkway 








9. Cable fdonzIliEb buy 








10. Straw at Tmts 








11, Gravel & him. Water out of Drive* 








12. Reolace Broken Water Boies 








13. PickuD Trash In FarkhiK i,pnj 








M. Arbor Roof 








IS. Un-Used Tenli - Public Auction 








16. 1995 Minister 








17. 1995 Staztaa Grams 








18. Garbem Collection or Green Boxes 








IS- Renlinz Shack 








20. Gene Ross wants to bur space 
betide preacher's tent 








21. Doug Caldwell wants fo bnlld 
new tent-attach to Slsmon's 








22. Grade around Arbor 
for water to run around 








23. Trim Trees Dlockjns: Ltatits 








24. Fertilise (root feed) Trees 
In Arbor Ares 








25. Replace Steps to Spring 








26. Renovate Spring Area 
a. New Building 








27. Historical Committee 
















29. 2nd Mml Shack on 

Opposite Ends of Grounds 








30. Bible School - Denver Baptist - June 








31. Newsletter 








32. Bathroom Paper Holders 








33. Res troom signs 








34. Separate Treasurer and Secretary 








35. Who lives fas Mobile Home? 























408 



1995 

Early School Start Will Interfere with 

Campmeeting 

January 12 - A proposal to move the start of school in Lincoln 
County was drawing criticism from some parents, including complaints 
the earlier start would interfere with Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

A school committee was recommending that classes start August 7, 
two weeks earlier than in previous years. 

"Most of the complaints have been from the eastern end of the 
county from people connected with campmeeting," said Virginia 
Dellinger, who chaired the school board. 

"I'm a Rock Spring Campmeeting goer myself, but also I have chil- 
dren in high school," Dellinger added. 



School Board Approves Early Start 

February 12 - Lincoln County school board members narrowly ap- 
proved a controversial 1996-97 school calendar that set the first day of 
school for August 12. 

The schedule represented a compromise, as an earlier recommen- 
dation had originally proposed the school start for August 7. 

Interfering with Rock Spring Campmeeting had been an issue pre- 
sented by those against the early start, as the official dates for camp- 
meeting are Aug. 4-11. 

One East Lincoln High School parent, Roxanne Washam, expressed 
little sympathy for campmeeting at the board meeting as she said, "If 
the campground is such a big issue that it could change the school cal- 
endar, let's change campmeeting." 

409 



1995 



Easter Service at Campground 

April 16 - An Easter Sunrise Service was held under the campground 
arbor. 



Spring Beautification Begins 

May 13 - Terry Barker and Paul Sherrill, along with other volun- 
teers, started planting and mulching near the big rock spring. 



Cleanup Day Rained Out 



June 3 - Heavy rain two days prior forced campground trustees to 
postpone today's cleanup day until June 17 at 7:30 a.m. 



410 



1995 



Spring Area Restored 

July 31 - Nestled just below the rocky hillside, the clear water spring, 
aptly named Rock Spring, flows into a natural rock basin. 

Generations of tenters have not even seen the spring, trustee Terry 
Barker said. But now through the efforts of the campground's trustees, 
the spring has been restored and once again will belong to the tenters as 
they gather to worship. Campmeeting officially opens Friday. 

Barker said many volunteers had spent countless hours clearing the 
undergrowth, planting shrubbery, cleaning the rock faces and installing 
steps and handrails. 

Ferns, hosta and pink flowering shrubs dot the mulch-covered hill- 
side, intermingled with large granite stones, and giant rock faces peek 
through the landscaping. A concrete picnic table sits by the branch, and 
the spring, enclosed in a brick building with glass doors, is lighted for 
viewing. 

Following campmeeting each year the trustees gather to decide what 
projects to pursue through the year. Last year, they made refurbishing 
the spring a priority, Barker said. "The spring is what it's named after 
and most people never come down here." 

In the last few years, the trustees have made 
other improvements to the campground while 
cautiously maintaining the tradition of the 
meeting. They want to enhance the camp- 
ground without hurting the natural beauty of 
the area, Barker explained. 

"We can make it ugly or we can help make 
it beautiful," he said. 



Barker 




411 



Rock Springs Charge 

Bethel - Webb's Chapel 

Rev. Ted E. Hendrix, Minister 



TO THE AREA MINISTERS AND TRUSTEES 

Dear Friends: 

It is once again Camp Meeting Time. Dates for the Camp Meeting are Fri- 
day August 4th. through August 1 3th. 

Ted Hendrix, minister of the Rock Springs Charge will be the Speaker for 
the Preaching Services this year. 

As we begin our two hundreth and first year of Camp Meeting. Let us be 
much in prayer for the services and that hearts will be truly blessed. 

The Trustees of the Camp Ground, under the leadershpip of Dwight 
Calloway have been hard at work getting the Camp Grounds ready for this years 
meeting. I trust you will be sure to visit the Spring to see the work that has 
been done there. 

Mrs. Amy Edwards will serve as our Song Leader this year. Amy has been 
busy getting the music and the Choirs ready and has held several practices in 
preparation for the services. All worship services will begin promptly at 8:00 p. 
m., please encourage all your people to be present. 

Looking forward to seeing you and youjs at Camp Meeting, 



Sincerely, 
Ted Hendrix 



412 



1995 



The Ritual of Summer 

August 2 - When the faithful converge on the Rock Spring Camp- 
ground later this month to begin the two hundred first annual meeting, 
they will be met by numerous improvements to the 40-acre campus. 

Following last year's bicentennial celebration, trustees of the United 
Methodist Church sanctioned campmeeting, composed a 30-point im- 
provement schedule that will be completed in phases. 

At the top of that list were the landscaping and beautification of 
the area around the rock spring that provided water for the campers 
until the establishment of the Lincoln County water system. Plants are 
in place along with handrails leading down the steep hill and steps to 
the spring. Picnic tables and benches have also been erected. 

Trustees selected the spring area as the proper place to begin reno- 
vations since its natural water supply was the contributing factor for the 
site being selected in 1830 for the annual gathering. 

Another item near the top of the improvements list is the recover- 
ing of the arbor, the open-air tabernacle that hosts religious services 
several times daily during the first full week in August each year. 

That project will be somewhat more difficult than the spring area 
beautification, as cost could approach $40,000. The present roof, in- 
cluding labor and materials, was put on in 1890 at an expense of $418.55. 

Last year's bicentennial celebration featuring historical displays and 
artifacts established a new custom for future years. 

Sunday, August 6, beginning at 6 p.m., a special Historical Day is 
scheduled. Supper on the grounds will be spread. Tenters are encour- 
aged to take part by bringing a covered dish or well-filled basket. 

Old fashioned dress will be the proper attire for the occasion. Doz- 
ens of campers are expected to dress in costumes giving viewers the 
impression they have been transported in time back to the 1800s. One 
will see costumes of that era, including long dresses, shawls, bonnets, 
fluffy bow ties, puffy pants and bib overalls. 

413 



1995 



Guest speaker for the historical festivities will be retired Methodist 
minister, Rev. John J. Powell of Mill Spring. The 78-year-old Rev. Powell 
has a vast knowledge of campmeetings in America. In 1942, as a student 
at Duke University, he authored a 100-page thesis entitled "Origin and 
History of Campmeetings in North Carolina." 

Completing the days-gone-by atmosphere will be a pitch fork con- 
structed hay stack that has been erected near the arbor. 

"Last year was the first time a special celebration was held during 
campmeeting. Based on its success, we felt something special should be 
planned again this year," said Rev. Gene Richardson. 

Following the historical festivities at 8 p.m., the evening worship 
service will be conducted by the Rev. Ted Hendrix, pastor of the Rock 
Spring Methodist Charge. 

Plans are to conclude the day's activities with a special preview show- 
ing of a campmeeting video that has been two years in the making. 

"It will be close, but I'm confident we'll have at least the master 
copy available for showing that evening," said Rev. Richardson. Copies 
will be available to the public in late August. 

The 1995 session of Rock Spring Campmeeting will get underway 
on Friday evening, August 4 with a community singing. Area groups 
and choirs are invited to participate. The Cockman Family and Regals 
Quartet will offer a concert of gospel music on the following evening. 
Worship services will begin August 6 and continue through the follow- 
ing Sunday several times daily. 

"You cannot understand campmeeting unless you attend," said Rev. 
Richardson. "You have to see it with the people, preaching and the food." 



414 



1995 



Tenters Flock to Campmeeting 

August 4 (Friday) - For weeks, Rock Spring Campground has been 
alive with activity. The grass has been mowed, fresh sawdust has been 
spread, the tents have been washed down and the anticipation is almost 
at a breaking point. 

Now it's finally here. Campmeeting activities officially begin today 
with the Little Singing at 8 p.m. featuring local talents. 

Traditionally, Little Week has been a time of moving in and getting 
adjusted to the unairconditioned tents and primitive conditions of the 
201-year-old Methodist campmeeting, but this year people got started a 
little early. 

Doris Dellinger Keever said she moved in several weeks ago. "If I 
had to give up everything else, I would just come to campmeeting," she 
said. 

When only a 10-month-old baby, her parents, Cecil and Clara 
Dellinger, brought her to the tent her grandmother first built. Now as a 
grandmother, she brings her family of three children and six grandchil- 
dren to honor the tradition year after year. 

Keever has childhood memories of attending the morning children's 
services and later in life of visiting with classmates seen only once a year 
at the campground. "It's just good fellowship," she said. 

She recalled a huge oak tree growing within the wall of the family 
tent. It was a real conversation piece, she said. But the tent and the tree 
were destroyed in a fire a decade ago and had to be rebuilt, she said. 

Keever said she had to stay three or four weeks because she enjoyed 
it so much. It's just so nice to hear the preaching and fellowship with 
family and friends, she said. 

Unlike many tenters who were born into the tradition, as a young 
girl, Libby Robinson would persuade her father to bring her to camp- 
meeting each year to stay with friends. Then she married into the tradi- 
tion when she wed Randy Robinson, who had been tenting all his life. 

415 



1995 



Later they were able to purchase their own tent since the family was 
outgrowing the other one anyway, and now they bring their children, 
Jacob, 14, Casey, 12 and Maggie, just 15 months, to campmeeting every 
year. 

Robinson said she enjoyed socializing and going to worship ser- 
vices, smelling the ham frying at night and seeing old friends. But the 
best thing about campmeeting is the freedom from the hectic and wor- 
risome days of the modern world, she said. 

Levi Blalock is less than 10 months old and doesn't yet understand 
the tradition, but he smiles as he swings on the porch of the family tent. 
His father, Darin, has been tenting for about 20 years since his parents, 
Gaye and Calvin Blalock, purchased the tent. Levi's mother, Lisa, only 
began attending six years ago. 

But Levi is attending his first of many campmeetings, Lisa said. Soon 
the tent will fill with family and the eight grandchildren who range in 
age from nine years to three months. 

The card-playing is more thrilling, the fried ham tastes better and 
the coffee smells more aromatic at campmeeting, Jo Ann Kelly said. She's 
been attending all her life and each year her family returns to the tent 
owned by H.P. and Mary Dellinger. 

During the last weekend of campmeeting they will have as many as 
30 relatives return to share dinner and attend worship services, she said. 

The East Lincoln Band Boosters will be selling hot dogs, hamburg- 
ers, chicken sandwiches, ham biscuits, homemade ice cream and 
milkshakes and other snacks at the shack. 



416 



Rock Spring Campmeeting 

August 6-13,1995 



Work Day - June 3, 199S - 7:30 a.m. 

This is a day that we ask volunteers to help us clean the grounds. This is not the day to 
wort: on personal tents, but to pick up trash, mow, and rake the arbor area, spring area, walkways, 
and all around the parking areas. This is a hard job and because of your help we haven't had to 
pay anyone. Please help us again this year. Pack a sandwich or two and we'll have lunch on the 
grounds. 

Last fall we had 1 1 volunteers bring tractors and others picked up roots and rocks and 
put out seed and fertilizer. Because of their hard work and efforts, we now have 8 additional 
acres of parking area We also have cleared and sewn grass along the road above the spring area. 

Reminder: 

Any and all trash removed from your tent must be hauled off of campground 
property . Do not dump trash on campground. Also, straw is to be removed from your tent 
after campmeeting is over. This could be a serious fire hazard. -'.y'P'. u ' 

Tent Tax & Utilities - $75.00 

Tent tax and utilities will be the same as last year, $75 00 for each tent. Please be sure to 
put your tent number on your check and make checks payable to Rock Spring Campground, 
P.O.Box 204, Denver, NC 28037 

Projects to complete before Campmeeting — " 

1 . Landscape and set out shrubbery around the spring 

2. Install some catch basins in walk area to eliminate washing 

3. Resow areas of walkway 

4. Handrails on steps to the spring 

5. Lights at the spring 

6. More lights in the parking areas 

7. Speakers in walkways for announcements 

8. Second order of commemorative plates - Contact Gene Richardson - 483-4162 

Arbor Restoration 

We are planning for arbor restoration and we expect it to be very expensive. To offset the 
cost we are providing for an Arbor Restoration Fund. Any and all contributions toward this 
project are greatly appreciated. 

Campground Trustees 

If you ever have questions, comments, or concerns about the campground your trustees 
are: 

Clyde Armstrong - 483-2883 Terry Barker - 483-5848 

Van Barker -483-2710 Dwight Callaway -483-5 140 

Jerry Dellinger - 483-5272 Joe Ervin - 483-3859 

Ted Hendrix - 483-9823 Gary Holbrooks - 735-2203 

Jerry Sigmon - 483-2277 Johnny Sigmon - 483-3526 



Tent Usage 

If your family has grown away from Campmeeting over the years and you rent your tent 
out to others during Campmeeting or maybe-your tent is vacant during Campmeeting, then you 
may have a need to sell your tent to someone else that really wants to be involved. Often owners 
who rent their tent out do not take the responsibility of keeping up the tent The renters of these 
tents do not feel responsible for doing it either. This is detrimental to Campmeeting to have run 
down tents for which no one is caring We are not trying to make owners sell their tents, but we 
are trying to improve the grounds. If you have a desire to sell your tent, we will be having a tent 
auction on Saturday, July 29. If you are interested, please contact Dwight Callaway at 483-5 1 40 



417 



1995 



Summer Tradition 

"We love coming here because it gives us a chance to see friends 
and spend time with our families," said Rhonda Martin of Triangle. "My 
sister and I have been coming here for about 33 years, ever since we 
were little. It's like the last hurrah of summer." 

Ownership of tents is passed down horn generation to generation. 
The tent where Merle Robinson will spend the campmeeting belonged 
to her aunt and then to her mother. 

The 68-year-old Cornelius woman has been coming to campmeet- 
ing for almost all of her life. She arrived a week before the meeting to 
spruce up the place and to reflect on all the changes she has seen since 
her first meeting 67 years ago. 

"Back then, we didn't have any electricity or running water," she 
said. "We didn't have bathrooms. People would bring live chickens to 
the meeting and let them run wild in the road before the tents." 

"Coming here is like a big family reunion," Mrs. Robinson said. 
"You see people you haven't seen all year long. It's like one big happy 
family here." 

Nancy Arndt of Sherrills Ford knows the feeling of family that comes 
from campmeetings. She will spend her campmeeting with her grand- 
daughters and cousins. 

"We have been coming to campmeeting for forever, it seems," She 
said. "My son came to his first campmeeting when he was only 10 days 
old. My granddaughter Allison has been coming here since she was six 
months." 

Allison said for her the best part of campmeeting is the shack, where 
children can buy ice cream and toys during the week-long meeting. 

"I've been waiting for campmeeting all year long because coming 
here is a lot of fun, even though it's hot," she said. 

Allison's excitement is tempered by the fact that school starts in the 
middle of campmeeting. Still, she plans to enjoy herself. 

418 



1995 



Time Stops as Campmeeting Starts 

August 5 - In between the inconsistency and the irony, Lincoln 
County has a few good things of which to be proud. 

The Apple Festival next month will draw thousands to Lincolnton 
and give our county residents a forum to display their talent and indus- 
trious nature as apples, quilts, crafts, cakes and artwork fill Main Street. 

Saturday, Lincoln County will break new ground by hosting a Latin 
American Expo featuring food, entertainment and crafts of the area's 
newest population segment. The cultural exchange should provide bet- 
ter understanding of residents who are increasingly calling this county 
home. 

But of all the traditions and events offered in Lincoln County, Rock 
Spring Campmeeting must be considered the most powerful tradition 
of all. It may even be the oldest continuous campmeeting in the United 
States. 

To the unfamiliar, it looks like a collection of tobacco barns or a 
shanty town reminiscent of the Depression era. But to those of us who 
find comfort and peace within its boundaries it is indeed a great and 
powerful place. 

Someone once told me that in Denver, time is measured by camp- 
meeting, and it's true. Because for those two weeks ending July and be- 
ginning August, time stops in Denver and we are taken back to a tradi- 
tion that began 201 years ago. 

Some people feel closer to God seated in the wood pews of the arbor 
or under the massive protecting trees of that inner circle. Others feel 
close to their neighbor and find the yearly fellowship a highlight. And 
the young people chance feeling close to the attractive person catching 
their eye. 

From grass roots politicking to gospel singing, the meeting is sym- 
bolic of human nature and what a group of people gathered together 
will do. Little boys squirt little girls with water guns, older girls wear 

419 



1995 



their best outfit to attract the looks of the scrub-faced boys in clean t- 
shirts, and adults talk, look, gossip, worship, socialize and eat. 

All of this is done while the smell of frying ham and coffee perme- 
ates the humid air and the incessant slapping of the paddle ball against 
the wooden handle echoes among the tents. 

It is a place of experiences and a place that must be experienced. It is 
an idea that blossoms all year in anticipation, then reaches full bloom 
in the heat of the summer after vacations but before the start of school. 

It's a place of first freedoms as toddlers learn to walk hesitantly around 
the circle and youngsters visit from one tent to another without being 
followed by parents. Teens stay up late swinging on the porches or play- 
ing cards past midnight and even adults find it difficult to pry them- 
selves away from the fellowship. 

It's a place of spiritual renewal and reaffirmation, first kisses behind 
the dark shadows of the tents, milkshakes from the shack and a gather- 
ing of friends and family that is as permanent as the ground on which it 
stands. 

Yes, time is certainly measured by campmeeting, as is the wealth of 
the human spirit called to share in its richness. 



Story by 
Shawn Cooper 




420 



1995 



What is your Favorite Part of 

Campmeeting? 





"It reminds me of my ground- 
roots and my upbringing in the 
Methodist church." 
Rick Mc Adams 
Westport 



"I like to play baseball and 

football near the Rock Spring 

arbor. " 

Cameron Pope 

Denver 





"I enjoy watching my kids, Zachary 

and Hannah, at play." 

David Springs 

Denver 



"The fellowship and good 

religious services mean the most 

to me." 

Troy Dellinger 

Denver 



421 




Logan and Dylan Riddle sell lemonade to Hannah Martin, 6. The young entrepreneurs set 
up business on a hot afternoon. They are the sons of Rick Riddle of Denver. 




Kristen Seigler (from left), Kelly Rue and Carrie Barker 



422 




Ashley Zimtbaum (from left), 13, Jena Bowers, 10, and Corey Harrison, 10 




Troy Dellinger is getting ready for campmeeting by sprucing up around the tents 



423 




These boys are resting under a picnic shelter at Rock Spring Campground after playing 
a game of whiffle ball near the arbor 




Josh Talbert spreads wood 
chips in his tent 



424 



ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 
1995 Worship Services 



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

8:00 I'M Lllllc Singing (Various Lornl Talent) 



Friday, Aug. 4 
Satin dny, Aug. 5 

Sunday, Aug. 6 



8:00 I'M llig Singing 

(Tile Kcgnls & The Cockmiiu Family) 

10:00 AM Sunday School (Michel, III olhei ton) 

11:00 AM Morning Worship (Rev. Ted llendrlx) 

6:30 I'M Dinner on the Grounds 

B:00 PM Evening Wciltitp u il!slorical Emphasis 

(Rev. led llendrlx) 
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 



Monday, Aug. 7 

thru 
Friday, Aug. 1 1 



10:00 AM 

11:00 AM 

8:00 I'M 
9:30 I'M 

10:00 I'M 



Children's Service 

(Annette Lawhig and Rhonda Martin) 

Morning Worship 
(Dlffcieiit Local l'astors) 

I "vcning Worship (Rev. Ted Heudrix) 

Middle School Youth Service 
(Flic Reel) 



High School Youth Service 
(Tim Rogers) 

>>>>>>>>>>>>fc>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>5->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 



Saturday, Aug. 12 
Sunday, Aug. S3 



8:00 I'M 
I Or 00 AM 
11:00 AM 

8:00 I'M 



Fvenlug Worship (Rev. Ted llendrlx) 
Sunday* School (Mlchele Urolli-rtou) 
Morning Worship (Rev. Ted Heudrix) 
nfoimnl Worship 



8:00 I'M liiloriunl Worship 

(Rev. Gene Richardson) 



425 



ROCKSFRINC GAMP MEETING 
"HISTORICAL CELEBRATION 199S" 

Sunday Evening August 6, 1995 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 

6;00 PM SUPPER CALL ■ RIN'GING OF THE BELL 

6:15 PM WELCOME to Camp Meeting 1995 
Singing of the National Anthem 
Raising of the American Flag 
Invocation 

6.-30 PM DINNER ON THE GROUNDS 

7:45 PM Recognition of the Rock Springs Campground Veterans Association 
Induction of new members 

8:00 PM Evening Worship Service 

Guest Speaker Rev John J Powell, retired United Methodist minister 
("Origin and History of Camp Meeting 1n North Carolina") 

9:30 PM Premiere showing of the bicentennial video in the preacher's tent 
"Rock Springs 200 Years of Camp Meetings" 



PLEASE NOTE 

Everyone is encouraged to dress "old fashioned" style for this event and to bring a 
well-filled basket of food or a covered dish. 

The bicentennial video will be on sale during camp meeting for $20. You may place 
your order in the preacher's tent by filling out available forms The video will be 
available by the end of September. 

We still have bicentennial plates available These will be on sale for $15 in Carolyn 
Temple's tent (#186). 



If you would like to serve as a member of the Rock Springs Camp Meeting 
Committee on Records and History, please fill out the form below and return to 
Gene Richardson. 

NAM E: ; 

ADDRESS: 



PHONE NUMBER. 
TENT NUMBER 



426 



THE ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 

1995 SCHEDULE 

August 4 - August 13, 1995 



CHOIR LEADER AMY EDWARDS 

PIANO-CAMPMEETING KIM HARRIS & JACKIE FELL 

CHILDREN'S PROGRAM ANNETTE LAWING & RHONDA MARTIN 

YOUTH PROGRAM TIM ROGERS-SR. HIGH, ERIC REEL-MIDDLE SCHOOL 

CAMPMEETING PREACHER REV. TED HENDRIX 

LITURGIST REV. GENE RICHARDSON 

LITTLE SINGING - FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 1995 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring 

"Local Talents" 

BIG SINGING - SATURDAY, AUGUST 5, 1995 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring 

"The Regals" from Spartanburg, S.C. 

"The Cockman Family" from Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

Worship August 6, 11:00 a.m. 
Worship August 13, 11:00 a.m. 

TIME OF SERVICES 

Sunday School 10:00 Both Sundays 

Morning Worship 11:00 a.m. 

Evening Worship 8:00 p.m. Each Evening 

Children's Program 10:00 a.m. Monday-Friday 

Youth Program 9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday 

PARTICIPATING CHOIRS AND MUSICIANS 

Music for Evening Services 

Little Sunday Morning - Bethel Trio and Bari Hendrix 

Little Sunday - Bethel United Methodist Church 
Monday - Webbs Chapel United Methodist Church 

Tuesday - Salem United Methodist Church 

Wednesday - Hills Chapel United Methodist Church 

Thursday - Denver United Methodist Church 

Friday - Fairfield United Methodist Church 

Saturday - North Carolina Air National Guard Choir 

Sunday Morning Worship - Lori Johnson and "The Campground Choir" 

427 



1995 



Campmeeting Video to be Available in 
September 

August 10 - Rock Spring: 200 Years of Campmeeting tells the story of 
Rock Spring Campmeeting and is narrated by Denver's Doug Mayes, 
written by Gary Freeze; the professional-quality presentation is an his- 
torical tribute to the tradition of campmeeting. 

Many area residents were interviewed and photographed for the 
piece. Videographer/editor for the project was John Burchett, producer 
was Gene Richardson, executive producer was Ken Horn. 

The video will sell for $20. 



Rock Spring Video Text 



Methodism was America's religion when America was young. In that 
day, when many Americans had no church, earnest ministers ventured 
into the small villages, busy seaports and family farms of a developing 
nation. Wherever the ministers preached, they left behind spiritual seeds 
that grew into congregations. Because the preacher could come only 
occasionally, Methodists developed ways to keep the spirit alive through- 
out the year. They maintained family devotions, prayed with their neigh- 
bors, and once a year came together for campmeeting. 

On a central ground, neighbors gathered during the lull in summer 
farming. This time of worship was vital to their lives. Campmeeting 
meant to early Americans what we today get from summer vacation, the 
Super Bowl, and group therapy all rolled into one. It saved souls and 
revived hopes. It brought isolated families together. It inspired, relaxed 
and disciplined all who came. Campmeeting gave people a sense of be- 
longing. 

Although few Methodists today go to campmeetings, a rare concen- 
tration of five campgrounds still thrive in the Catawba River Valley of 

428 



1995 



the North Carolina Piedmont. The mother of the campgrounds is at 
Rock Spring, near Denver. 

In 1994, worshippers here celebrated 200 years of spiritual renewal. 
Like a Biblical oasis, Rock Spring has long been a nationally-known mecca 
for Methodists. 

In 1794, a group of Virginians recently arrived in the Catawba River 
Valley aspired to revive their Methodist heritage. To bring them together 
for worship, the local preacher, Daniel Asbury, proposed a common gath- 
ering. Because many came from such a distance, some camped over- 
night. More than 300 found faith in the first preaching. To celebrate 
this achievement, local congregations came back to camp each summer 
for the next three years. It was the first of hundreds of campmeetings 
that developed in the early 1800s throughout the United States. 

In 1830, to cope with large crowds, the meeting was moved to "the 
pleasant, wooded ground" known as the Rock Spring. So famous was 
Rock Spring by the mid 1800s that a visiting preacher labeled it "the 
London of Campmeetings." Another called it "a muster ground for 
Methodism." Some years, more than 50,000 people crowded into the 
area. Recent times still reflect good attendance, although the glory days 
have departed. 

"Do you think campmeeting is as popular?" asked Gene Richardson. 

"Well, nope. I've seen as high as 25,000 here on Big Sunday. You 
stayed till Monday. You didn't leave here and go home," said J. W. Sigmon. 

Although fewer people today stay the whole time, in recent years, 
thousands have attended Sunday services. Almost 300 families tent here 
yearly, as they call it, during the first week of August. Most are related in 
some way to the first families that worshipped together 200 years ago. 

These families retain a deeply-rooted loyalty to Rock Spring tradi- 
tions. Through time, they have annually attended campmeeting. They 
have come on horseback, in wagons, then in pickup trucks and cars. 

429 



1995 



They have come despite efforts to close the grounds at different 
times. They have braved weather, world wars, economic depressions, 
epidemics and devastating fires. Each August, they return to be cleansed 
and renewed. They go home satisfied and anticipate next year's return. 
As Mr. Sam Moore, the oldest tent-holder recalls, there is a joy in the 
experience. 

Campmeeting is a stage for rituals and habits that seem Biblically 
rooted. Just as the children of Israel came annually to their sacred groves 
for revival, so the families of Rock Spring eagerly anticipate the time to 
go to the tent and arbor, to make ready for what one local preacher has 
called "a feast of the tabernacles." 

Tradition is invoked in every nook and cranny of the grounds. The 
campground has varied little in appearance for more than a century. At 
the center is the arbor, an open shed that draws and shields worship- 
pers. Around the arbor are the tents, small huts actually, where the wor- 
shippers stay. The tents form row houses, along straight streets that form 
squares around the arbor. For two weeks each year, people crowd into 
them like urban apartment dwellers. 

The shape of the tents still reminds one of the practical farm world 
of the campground founders. The first canvas tents evolved into more 
permanent log huts, one story high, which looked a lot like the out- 
buildings back on the family farms. Most contemporary tents are two- 
storied with slatted, ventilated walls that still remind one of a corn crib 
or stable. This is especially the case after they stand empty fifty weeks 
each year. During the other two weeks, however, Rock Spring is a vi- 
brant tent city. 

The first ritual for campmeeting folk is the annual cleaning. Tent 
owners come early to scrub away the year's worth of dust, straw and dirt. 
The old is dumped and fresh straw and sawdust put in its place. Beds are 
made, refrigerators stocked, and the porch swing hung. Often a sheet 

430 



1995 



serves as a wall to separate the temporary parlor from the bedroom. 
Among the more tradition-minded, a bucket bearer is dispatched to bring 
water the old-fashioned way from the original spring. 

Good eating is a high priority during campmeeting. In the old days, 
the family left the farm with live chickens in a coop, which they fixed 
when they arrived. 

"We'd bring a load of food and chicken. We brought 36 chickens 
one time," said Sam Moore. 

Even with refrigeration, long-keeping food like pound cakes, chess 
pies and fried chicken remain favorites. 

Tent-holders each year symbolize the reopening of their temporary 
home with the hanging of a decorative cloth against the drab boards of 
the front wall. The cloth reminds tent holders of their farm past, since 
the first wall hangings were printed feed sacks. This tapestry announces 
that the family is ready for the company and fellowship which is at the 
heart of the campmeeting experience. 

A craving for fellowship is a central campground ritual. Campmeet- 
ing is a time to get reacquainted for many. For them the attraction draws 
them every year of their lives. Mrs. Georgianna Howard was considered 
the grande dame of Rock Spring for much of the twentieth century. She 
attended campmeeting every one of her 89 years. 

"She loved campmeeting.. .she didn't want to miss it. She liked the 
crowd, she liked the talk. She looked forward to it," said her son, Mon- 
roe Howard. 

Another key ritual is rest. People actually come to the tent to be 
still, to have a quiet that they have little time for during the rest of the 
year. Once, farm families completely left their chores at home and took 
a true vacation at Rock Spring. A few contemporary tent-holders still do 
that. 

"I enjoy it as much as anything that has ever been. I look forward to 

431 



1995 



it yet. I come out here and I don't go home at night. I stay here at night 
by myself if I have to. I got five kids that want to stay - 1 let them stay. I 
got 3 or 4 beds upstairs for them to sleep in," said J.W. Sigmon. 

In recent times, people go and come to their jobs during the week. 
They still return in the evening, however, for a cable-free quiet that they 
find fulfilling and satisfying. This quiet may elude the first-time visitor 
to the grounds. The campground in the cool of the evening seems to 
have so much energy that people sitting in front of the tents seem to get 
lost in the shuffle of feet and clamor of voices. If you come during mid- 
day heat, however, the stillness will seem a sanctuary. 

On weekends the pace picks up. Rock Spring celebrates over two 
Sundays, with a daily service in between. Young and old alike fill the 
streets to visit and socialize, to reestablish acquaintances. 

"You see people you haven't seen from one year to the next. You see ' 
people you went to school with. It's interesting to see people," stated 
Leslie Sherrill. 

Rock Spring families look upon the annual camp as a time to social- 
ize with people dear to them. 

Touring the campgrounds to see and be seen forms an important 
ritual. No camper holds this more dear than teenagers, who constantly 
"walk the circle" on the streets surrounding the arbor. Some teens have 
been known to pass by a tent as many as ten times an hour. They also 
congregate at the long-standing refreshment center known as "the shack." 
Generations have made friends here where soft drinks, souvenirs and 
candy breed a youthful kind of communion. One newcomer in 1994 
came home from the first night with eleven new friends. 

As the young people of Rock Spring age, some friends matter more 
than others. Campmeeting is renowned for its courting. Being asked to 
"walk the circle" constitutes a first date for some. Not surprisingly, ro- 
mances blossom during campmeeting week. Many families at Rock Spring 

432 



1995 



are linked by the marriages that result. 

"At campmeeting, most people growing up have campmeeting girls. 
They never get to see them till the next year, but a lot of people have 
met and married. I have a sister that met and married her husband here. 
There's a lot of others who do that," said Tommy Brotherton. 

Heck McAllister was a young man when he first came to Rock Spring 
in 1947. "I was farming... I met my future wife. I picked her out. I went to 
church... On Monday night I was over there to go to a ball game," said 
McAllister. 

Some courtships start early. 

"Betty is four years younger than I am. To me she was just a little 
kid. Betty made the statement, not to me, but to some friends of hers, 
'There's the boy I'm going to marry' Then 20 years later, we were mar- 
ried," added Brotherton. 

Rowdiness sometimes goes hand in hand with romance on the camp 
grounds. It has long been a tradition to throw rocks on the roofs of tents 
in the middle of the night. 

"We used to have a lot of fun here. Why, there's a lot of 
mischief.. .we'd throw rocks, we'd do a little bit of everything. We'd rock 
the tents. In fact, Pinky here, they was having a big time. They was 
talking about going to my sister's to rock her tent. She thought it was 
hail," said McAllister. 

People frequently play pranks on one another. 

"I always remember Jack Alexander got up on the roof and threw a 
bucket of water on two people. They were blessing him out. They didn't 
know who he was," added McAllister. 

"We had a tree over there, it was a pretty little shade tree, me and 
my brother tarred it. They wasn't long until they left it alone," said J. W. 
Sigmon. 

Fights were frequent during some early years, but trustees took steps 

433 



1995 



in the 1900s to curb excesses. Campmeeting regulars will be the first to 
admit that earthly habits mix with heavenly aspirations at Rock Spring. 
Still, they find much good to come out of the experience. 

"We've had some bad things, like we do everywhere else; if it wasn't 
for that man above, nothing out here would ever happen," said Sherrill. 

Although social in many aspects, campmeeting revolves around 
worship. Each type of service has its own distinctive role to play. 

The meeting begins with a service for everyone on Little Sunday. 
Longtime worshippers share fellowship and devotion as they return to 
the pews. 

Each weekday, Rock Spring families go daily to the arbor. Years ago, 
there were several services daily. Today, because so many people go to 
work, the children gather in the morning for their special time. Then, 
families come out of the tents after supper for service in the evening. 
These evenings come the closest to the longtime spirit of the gathering. 

Young teens stay at the arbor for the last devotions of the day. In 
recent years, the campground has attracted an increasing number of 
young members of tenting families. 

The form of worship is as simple as Methodism was in frontier days. 
Worshippers come for singing, scripture and sermons. 

Straightforward hymn singing has always distinguished Method- 
ists. At Rock Spring, choirs from the nearby churches come together to 
provide special music. The enthusiasm spills into the pews where wor- 
shippers sing hymns well known to Methodists through the ages. 

Campmeeting does not treat Scripture like a school lesson the way 
some contemporary denominations do. Rather, worshippers at Rock 
Spring know that Scripture is the central voice among many to be heard 
at campmeeting. After music draws them near to God, the Word proves 
His presence. 

The heart of campmeeting since 1794 has been the sermon. Each 

434 



1995 



summer a visiting Methodist minister brings a series of messages. The 
aim is revival: of the soul, of the congregation, of the community. 

The fiery sermons of the past have subsided a bit, yet the power of 
the Gospel comes through each night at the arbor. 

Where the nightly focus is on the individual soul, on Big Sunday 
the community comes together to celebrate its heritage and its renewed 
commitment to Christ. On those days the elders of the campground 
come to the altar, like the heads of Biblical clans, to give thanks for the 
Power that brings them all together. 

Sundays have always taken a festive air that invokes memories of 
family reunions and country fairs. This sense of celebration was most 
keenly felt on Little Sunday in 1994, when the folks at Rock Spring ob- 
served the beginning of their third century together. 

A sense of heritage engaged them. They heard family stories from 
their elders. The communed with their finest food. They knew why they 
had come. 

Indeed, the people of Rock Spring remind every Christian of the 
Biblical admonition that tells someone where and how to be: "I was 
glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'" Camp- 
meeting matters deeply to them. The experience lives long in their hearts 
horn year to year. It becomes one of the values they pass on to their 
children, as they aspire to continue. 

It has been this way for 200 years. The promise of 200 more lies in 
the ways of Providence. Some have called today the age of unbelief, yet 
the original preachers of 1794 might have said the same thing for their 
day. 

The families of Rock Spring face the future of their campground like 
Methodists approach uncertainties. They look to the heavens and re- 
turn to their faith. 



435 



1995 



Arbor Roof Repairs Underway 

November 1 7 - Workers removed the weather and time-worn metal 
roof covering from the arbor as efforts continue to preserve the historic 
structure. 

November 20 - Benny Barker and Larry Freeze replaced decayed 
boards. 

December 20 - Recovering begins. 



The following are photos of the arbor during repair stages. 




436 









«$. 






# 











437 






Repairs completed - awaiting new 
metal covering 



438 



1996 

Cost to Cover Arbor Increases 

January - Below is a bill for putting metal roof on arbor in 1890. On 
the following page is the bill received by trustees in January of 1996 for 
recovering work done in December. 

Above reproduced from campground records of 1891 concerning cost 
of covering arbor roof. 

Cost of Repairing Arbor 

Cost of Steel Roofing 228.00 

Freight on 26.30 

Cost of Lumber 102.00 

Cost of Nails 7.75 

Cost of Painting 5.70 

Cost of Paint 7.70 

Cost of Labor 41.10 

$418.55 



439 



31 



T Tf i im G 



SINCE 1900 

S* idallsts tn Commercial, Industrial, 

and Institutional Roofing 

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO 
(216) 629-7663 



PITTSBUHOH. PENNSYLVANIA 
(41S) 364-6266 

CLEVELAND. OHIO 
(216) 232-1669 

COLUMBUS, OHIO 
(614) 231-1688 

TAUPA. FLORIDA 
(613) 665-1281 

LOUISVILLE. KENTUCKY 
(602) 647-0162 



CHARLOTTE. NORTH CAROLINA 
(704) 599-0440 

RALEIGH. NORTH CAROLINA 
(918) 783-0411 

FORT LAUDERDALE. FLORIDA 
(306) B62-3B40 

NASHVILLE. TENNESSEE 
(615) 622-2676 

TABOR CITY. NORTH CAROLINA 
(910) 653-9401 



twyoic* 



888872 IS 



■ fNVOICE DATE 



01/31 /3b 



L Rock Spring Camp Grd 
T Post Office Box 448 
° Denver, NC 28037 

Attention: Mr. Dwight Callaway 

P0 # TERMS 



J I 

o o 

B C 

A 
T 
I 

O 
N 



Rock Creek Campground 



NET IB DAY 
Quantity Description 



REGARDING: 8800 SQUARE FEET 



PAVILION 



TEAR OFF OLD METAL. PANELS DOWN TO WOOD DECKING 
AND HAUL AWAY DEBRIS. 

ALL ROTTEN WOOD DECK WILL BE REPLACED BY CHURCH 
MEMBERS . 

INSTALL NEW 3» POUND BASE SHEET OVER ENTIRE 
ROOF AREA . 

MECHANICALLY ATTACH NEW CLIPS - THEN INSTALL 
NEW MAT BLACK STANDING SEAM PANEL OVER ENTIRE 
AREA . 

INSTALL ALL NECESSARY TRIM AT PEAKS. VALLEYS 
AND EAVES TO MATCH NEW PANELS. 



TOTAL OU£ FOR LABOR AND MATERIAL 



3 6 « 9 '/ . t) i 



i sS — * 



REMIT TO 

SIMON ROOFING & 
SHEET METAL CORPORATION 

POST OFFICE BOX 75143 
CLEVELAND. OHIO 44101-2199 



Subtotals 



38097.ee 



Net Amount Due «■=> 3»<t97.08 



440 




Mr. Henley praises the Lord 



1996 



Shouting Era Ends 

Shouting under the arbor dur- 
ing campmeeting was common at 
most services during the early days, 
but declined as time passed. That era 
closed Wednesday, February 28 with 
the death of Mr. Rhyne Henley, the 
last of the old time Rock Spring 
shouters. 



Cold Workday 



March 30 - Under overcast sky with temperatures in the 40s, more 
than two dozen of the Rock Spring loyal answered a workday call. 

Most work was confined to removing leaves, pruning trees and 
mowing around the arbor. 



441 



Rock Spring Campmeeting 



Tent Tax & Utilities - $75.00 

Tent tax and utilities will lie the same as lasl year, $75.00 for each tent. 
However, we are requiring a $2500 assessment for I he Arhnr restoration for a total 
of $100.00. The cost of restoring the arbor was approximately $41,000.00 and as we 
have done in the past with the electrical wiring, we are asking each tent owner for 
the assessment this year so thai, we will not have to borrow the money. We would 
appreciate you all mailing your money in as soon as possible as we need to pay the 
contractors. If you haven't had the opportunity to see the arbor yet, please take 
time. It looks great and will be well worth your time and effort. Please be sure to 
put your tent number on your check and make checks payable to Hock Spring 
Campground, P.O. Box 204, Denver, NC 28037 

Work Day - March 30, 1996 - 7::t0 a.m. 

This is a day that we ask volunteers to help us clean the grounds. This is not 
the day to work on personal tents, hut to pick up trash, mow, and rake the arbor 
nrea, spring area, walkways, and all around the parking areas. This is a hard job 
and because of your help we haven't had to pay anyone. Please help us again this 
year. 

If you can't join us on the scheduled workday, come out anytime to clean up 
around your area and anywhere else that you see that needs attention. 

Tents Damaged 

As you all know, we had a hard, cold winter this year and some tents have 
damage because of the weight of all the snow and ice. Along with the weather, we 
had a couple of incidences of people breaking in and damaging property. Be sure to 
go by and check your tent early enough to make any necessary repairs. We want 
everyone to be ready to have fun and celebrate when campmeeting gets here. 

Reminder: 

Any and all trash removed from your tent most be hauled off of 
c amp gr ound property . Do not dump trash on campground. Also, straw is to be 
removed from your lent after campmeeting is over. This could be a serious fire 
hazard. 

Campground Trustees 

If you ever have questions, comments, or concerns about the campground 

your trustees are: 

Clyde Armstrong - 483-2883 'let ry Barker 483-5848 

Van Barker -483-2710 Dwighl Callaway - 483-5140 

Jerry Dellinger - 483-5272 Joe ErvLn - 483-3859 

Ted Hendrix - 483-9823 Gary Holbrooke - 735-2203 

Jerry Sigmon - 483-2277 Johnny Signion - 483-3526 

We appreciate everyone's hard work to keep a religious tradition alive. 
Thank you 



442 



1996 



Cherry-Horne Vows Made at Rock Spring 



April 28 - Allison Annette 
Cherry and Dennis Wheeler 
Home were united in marriage 
today at the Rock Spring Camp- 
ground arbor. Rev. James R. 
Reeves officiated. 

The bride is the daughter of 
Thomas Stephen and Gailya 
Cherry of Denver. 

Parents of the bridegroom 
are Sidney Earl and Alma Home 
of Denver. 




443 



1996 



Suspect Charged 



May 10 - A Denver teenager has been charged in some of the van- 
dalism that occurred last summer at the historic Rock Spring Camp- 
ground. 

Michael Dennis Smith, 17, of 7748 Campground Road, was charged 
today with four counts of injury to personal property. 

He's accused of kicking in doors to wooden tents at the religious 
retreat and damaging property inside. 

Charges are pending against two other suspects, according to De- 
tective Frank Schrapper of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, who 
has been investigating the vandalism since it was discovered last Au- 
gust. 

Smith has admitted vandalizing seven tents, Schrapper said. Dam- 
ages in each case were put at $300-$500. 

"He was just down there goofing around and things got out of 
hand. ..By the time they realized 
what had happened, they took off 
running," Schrapper said. 

The vandals broke mirrors and 
dishes and damaged commodes 
and sinks. 

"They basically just tore up the 
place," Schrapper said. 

Smith and the two others 
weren't responsible for all of the 
vandalism that occurred at the 
campground, Schrapper said. 

"There's about two groups of 
kids doing it. They don't seem to 
understand this is a historical 
thing." Damages to tent bathroom 




444 



1996 



Tenters Return to Rock Spring 

July 23 - The Rev. Ted Hendrix, the pastor of Webbs Chapel and 
Bethel Methodist Churches, said that everyone is invited to all the 
singings and services, whether they are tenting or not. 

"We would love, of course, for everyone to come out and join us," 
he said. 

Rock Spring trustee Terry Barker said that area residents have worked 
hard to get campmeeting ready this year. 

"We've done a lot of work out there," he said. 

Barker said that $40,000 was spent to maintain the central arbor, 
the oldest part of Rock Spring. 

"Our main project has been putting a new roof on the arbor," he 
said. 



Families Gather for Campmeeting 

July 31 - The tents are already filling with families and the official 
beginning is only days away for the 202nd annual meeting. 

Carolyn Dellinger Temple of Charlotte is already there. She's been 
there for days along with her family: her mother, Mary Virginia Barker 
Dellinger; son, Kent Temple, 29, of Denver; daughter-in-law, Pam; and 
grandsons, K.T., age 2, and Hunter, age 1. 

She's never missed a year in five decades except the year of the polio 
epidemic during 1948. There are four generations of family gathered 
here. 

"We move in here and bring everything. It's just like home - home 
without the air conditioning." Dellinger recalled as a little girl how they 
would come and stay several weeks, sometimes not returning home at 
all. Other times they would go home to do their chores, walking miles 
in between. The children would bathe in the sink just as the grandchil- 

445 



1996 



dren do now. 

Dellinger grew up in Denver but moved to Charlotte as an adult. 
She's always returned each Sunday to bring her family to church at 
Fairfield United Methodist Church. 

From early boyfriends to ham biscuits - the meeting is full of memo- 
ries for Dellinger and hundreds more, but if you've never been there it's 
hard to understand, she said. "Daddy used to say he quit trying to de- 
scribe it because nobody understood." 

Her son, Kent, recalled his own childhood memories. Few of the 
women worked and they, along with the children, stayed at the camp- 
ground all week. The women visited and the children played baseball in 
the grass by the arbor. That's when the Dellinger's tent still had a straw 
floor - the way Temple wishes it still was. But as the family grew, addi- 
tional sleeping space was needed and so it was renovated to include 
sleeping quarters upstairs, and the middle wall was removed downstairs. 
In the process, the floor was cemented and the bathroom was installed. 

The middle wall was built of candy crates of which the family kept 
as remembrances of the past. Dellinger has one that someone painted 
their tent on for her. If Temple had his way, he would put straw down 
over the cement to retain some sense of history, he said. 



446 



1996 



Campmeeting Holds Us Together 

July 31 - Some people don't know what they're missing. 

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a fellow UNC 
student and I mentioned Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

"I can't wait 'til campmeeting," I said. 

"Camp what?" he asked. 

I was astounded. I guess I had always just assumed that everybody 
had a campmeeting to go to. I really felt sorry for the guy. 

You see, campmeeting is one of the coolest things in the entire world. 
I've been going to Rock Spring since I was about two months old. I have 
memories of campmeeting that go back as far as I can remember. 

The amazing thing is that campmeeting has special meaning for 
people of all ages. 

For a kid, campmeeting is paradise. There's lots of dirt, and plenty 
of other kids who are more than willing to go screaming around in circles 
with you. To make it even better, parents seem a little more lenient, 
probably because they're all having a good time, too. 

For teens, campmeeting takes on a different meaning. For them, it's 
a place you can hang out with your friends in public and not get hassled 
by the law. You can also stay out until incredibly late hours without 
getting into trouble because home is always right around the circle. 
Campmeeting also has lots of dark, secluded spots and romantic porch 
swings for the occasional midnight kiss. 

For adults, campmeeting takes another form. It's a place you can go 
to see all the friends you haven't seen since high school. Take a lap around 
the circle and you're bound to see a few of the people you used to go 
running around in the mud with. You might even spot the person that 
you kissed on that porch swing. 

I suspect that as you get older, campmeeting becomes more special. 
Each year, you go back to renew those connections with old friends and 
to make connections with new neighbors. 

447 



1996 



I've been lucky enough to talk to some older people about their 
campmeeting experiences. They've told me that while things like run- 
ning water, electricity and cement floors have changed over the years, 
the sense of community at campmeeting has always been the same. 

Campmeeting started out as a time for people to come together to 
worship and to renew their sense of community. With no phones, no 
cars and no e-mail, families on scattered farms were very isolated. To 
them, campmeeting was the glue that held the community together. 
People would travel in wagons from their farms to Rock Spring, where 
they would set up real tents in a circle and hold church services, suppers 
and singings. For a short time each year, they made a small community 
and renewed their ties with one another. 

Campmeeting still manages to stir up that feeling. For a few weeks, 
people from Pumpkin Center live beside people from Westport. People 
from Iron Station walk around with people from Denver. People of all 
income levels meet and talk and eat together. We all become neighbors 
again. 

Today, we need that sense of community more than ever. We have 
instant communication with people on the other side of the world, but 
many of us don't know our next-door neighbors. People race by each 
other in air conditioned cars on the way to work without saying a word. 
We barely have time to eat, work and sleep, and we certainly don't have 
time to sit on a porch swing for three hours talking to people we don't 
even know. 

But luckily, we have a few weeks of campmeeting to remind us that 
we all have things in common, that we are all connected. Maybe there 
should be something like campmeeting for everybody in the rest of the 
world. 

It's actually kind of ironic that campmeeting is laid out as a big 
circle around the arbor. I see a circle as a fitting symbol for campmeet- 

448 



1996 



ing. I expect that when I go to Rock Spring this year, I'll probably see 
someone I used to run around in the mud with bringing their baby to 
campmeeting for the first time. It'll be a strange feeling, but a good one. 
That baby on its first trip to campmeeting is the continuation of the 
circle of community. As long as that circle remains unbroken, we still 
have a chance at being a true community. 

Chris Goodson 

Lincoln-Times News 




Chris Goodson 



449 



1996 



What's Special About Campmeeting? 

r " , >^*feH^ 





"I've been attending for over 18 years 
and see it as a combination of family 

reunion, festival and true spiritual 

opportunity. I enjoy seeing old friends 

and hearing good preaching. " 

Rev. Jim Reeves 

Denver 



"I've always come. It's part of 

childhood that just carries over." 

Leslie Sigmon 

Sherrills Ford 





"It's all the family coming and staying 

all week. It's sitting in the swing and 

plain vanilla milkshakes." 

Brian Mcintosh 

Denver 



"I've never missed it. The best thing is 

that it hasn't changed much and I've 

been coming for 77 years. " 

fames Barker 

Denver 



450 



1996 



Spiritual Renewal 



August 12 - "To me, this is holy ground. There's no other place like 
it in the world," said 81-year-old Laura Asbury Norwood. "I've been com- 
ing to the campmeeting for 80 years. Year to year, I ask the Lord to let 
me come one more year." 

As a child, Mrs. Norwood remembers traveling from High Shoals to 
the campgrounds by covered wagon. The 255 barn-like buildings called 
tents now have electricity and running water, the Lincolnton resident 
said. 

"I remember walking across the campground to draw water from 
the well. Now there's running water in each tent," she said. 

"It's like an extended family at the campground," said 32-year-old 
LaDonna Abernethy. "My whole family comes each year and now my 2- 
year-old daughter is experiencing it." 

Mrs. Abernethy, like other campers, have spent a week each year 
their entire lives at the Rock Spring Campground. 

"When I come to the campground, I'm coming into a loving place 
where everyone is friendly," said Mrs. Abernethy of Stanley. "It's like 
stepping into a different world; a world away from crime and hate." 

Three 15-year-olds anticipated the traditional water fight that's held 
on the last day of the week-long spiritual journey. Not only do Kara 
Morrison, Beth McClure and Kristen Seidler look forward to getting others 
wet, they like getting together with their friends and learning about 
God and partaking of communion. 

"I've always been coming here, and I look forward to coming each 
year," Miss Morrison said. "I'm going to keep coming back as long as I 
can." 

Opal Burgin of Alexis, who's been attending campmeetings for 61 
years, remembers having to leave the meeting to give birth to her daugh- 
ter in 1962. 

"That's the only time I didn't stay the whole week," Mrs. Burgin 

451 



1996 



said. 

She spends the week with her children and grandchildren away from 
stress and pressures of everyday life, she said. 

"I enjoy my family and visit with friends I haven't seen since last 
year's campmeeting," Mrs. Burgin said. "I also sit back and reflect and 
renew my spiritual life." 



452 



THE ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 

1996 SCHEDULE 

August 2 - August 11, 1996 

CHOIR LEADER AMY EDWARDS 

CHILDREN'S PROGRAM ANNETTE LAWING & RHONDA MARTIN 

YOUTH PROGRAM TIM ROGERS, CHAD McINTOSH, AMY ROLLINS 

CAMPMEETING PREACHER REV. CHRIS FITZGERALD 

LITTLE SINGING - FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 1996 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring Local Talents 

BIG SINGING - SATURDAY, AUGUST 3, 1996 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring 

The Hayes Family from Boone, N.C. 

The Cockman Family from Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

Worship Service August 4, 11:00 a.m. - Rev. Ted Hendrix 

Worship Service August 4-10, 8:00 p.m. - Rev. Chris Fitzgerald 

Worship Service August 11, 11:00 a.m. - Rev. Ted Hendrix 

TIME OF SERVICES 

Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Both Sundays 

Gordon Schronce - Junior Barkley 

Children's Program 10:00 a.m. Monday-Thursday 

11:00 a.m. Friday 

Morning Worship Service 11:30 a.m. Monday-Thursday 

Evening Worship 8:00 p.m. Each Evening 

Youth Program 9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday 

PARTICIPATING CHOIRS AND MUSICIANS 

Music for Evening Services 

Little Sunday - Bethel United Methodist Church Choir 

Monday - Webbs Chapel United Methodist Church Choir 

Tuesday - Salem United Methodist Church Choir 

Wednesday - Hills Chapel United Methodist Church Choir 

Thursday - Denver United Methodist Church Choir 

Friday - Fairfield United Methodist Church Choir 

Saturday - Campground Choir 

SPEAKERS FOR THE 1 1:30 MORNING SERVICES WILL BE: 

Monday - Steve Waggoner, Duke Student at Hills Chapel UMC 

Tuesday - Amy Rollings, Duke Student at Salem UMC 

Wednesday - James Reeves, Pastor of Denver UMC 

Thursday - Glenn Myers, Pastor of Mount Pleasant UMC 

Friday - Reserved for Children's Program 

453 



ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING CHILDREN SERVICE SCHEDULE 

Children's Service August 5, 1996 through August 9, 1996 

10:00 am. thru 11:00 a.m. 

OUR OWN OLYMPICS 

"GOD MADE THE WORLD" 

Songs, stories and a rhythm band each morning 

Sunday night opening ceremony parade at 6:30 
Meet at arbor 

Monday - Paddle Ball Day 
Please bring cardboard center of paper towels tomorrow 

Tuesday - Icee Pop Day 

Wednesday - Songs and stories at the Rock Spring 
Please bring a towel to sit on 

Thursday - Ice Cream in a Bag Day 
Please bring a towel 

Friday - Olympic Torch Day 
Passing of the Torch 

Friday Evening - 6:00 p.m. 

Meet at arbor for Olympic Parade 

6:30 p.m. 

Children's Closing Ceremony at the arbor - everyone invited 

Hope you can come! 
Annette Lawing and Rhonda Martin 

454 



1996 



Storm Dumps Rain on Tenters 

August 3 - A Saturday evening thunderstorm dumped rain, thunder 
and lightning on Rock Spring Campground, but it didn't dampen the 
spirit of campmeeting, which has survived much worse than thunder- 
storms over the past 200 years. 

As the storm raged, hundreds gathered in the old wooden arbor in 
the middle of the campground. People huddled in closer to avoid the 
showers as the gospel singers sang a little bit louder to be heard over the 
thunder and rattling of rain on the arbor's tin roof. 

Other people sat on porches or inside the wooden tents, talking to 
old friends and family until the rain let up. 

Dottie Clinard, who now lives in Greensboro, said that campmeet- 
ing is the only place she gets to see many of her old friends. 

"Some of these people I don't see but once a year," she said. 

Clinard said that coming to campmeeting is a tradition that she 
could never break. 

"I was born during campmeeting and I've been back every year since," 
she said. 

Virginia Brotherton said that she has been coming to campmeeting 
every year for a long time. She said that she remembers when going to 
campmeeting meant really roughing it. 

Brotherton said she has seen electricity come to the tents, running 
water to replace trips to the well, and concrete floors cover sawdust and 
shavings. 

"It's nice, and I'm not kicking it," she said, "but it's not the same." 

But Brotherton said that the most important part of campmeeting, 
the fellowship, remains the same. 

"The best thing is seeing all your friends and getting away from 
home," she said. 

Murrey Sherrill said that he, too, enjoys talking with old friends 
and relatives at campmeeting. Sherrill said that he enjoys listening to 

455 



1996 



"campmeeting tales," those stories about funny events and outlandish 
exploits that seem to happen to everyone at campmeeting. 

Sherrill said that the best part about campmeeting tales is that they 
seem to get more exciting and unbelievable every time they are told. 

"Each lie gets bigger every year," he said, laughing. 

But Sherrill said that despite the tall tales, the thing that holds camp- 
meeting together is the worship services. 

"That is the focal point of this," he said, pointing out the back door 
of his tent to where people were gathering at the arbor for a singing. "If 
it wasn't for that, there wouldn't be a campmeeting." 

While most people simply enjoy the campmeeting experience, oth- 
ers are trying to preserve the event's history and traditions for future 
generations. 

The walls of Terry Brotherton's tent show that he is interested not 
only in today's campmeeting, but in the campmeetings of the past. One 
wall is covered with black and white pictures of people at past camp- 
meetings that range in age from several years ago to 1910. Other walls 
bear glass-encased documents and artifacts from over 100 years ago. 

Brotherton said that he got many of the documents and other pieces 
of campmeeting history years ago from a woman who had been trying 
to keep a record of past meetings. "I just started to try to add to it," he 
said. 

Brotherton said that Rock Spring is the oldest active campmeeting 
in the country. 

"It appears that this one is the oldest one in the United States and 
probably the world," he said. 

Brotherton said that the pictures on his wall contain many camp- 
meeting stories and facts. One picture shows that one of the builders of 
the familiar Rock Spring sign in front of the shack was Martin Eaddy, 
now school superintendent. 

456 



1996 



He said that the oldest picture, a shot of a group in front of a tent, 
was taken around 1910. 

Brotherton pointed out a few of the people in the picture that he 
has identified. Many of them have family names that can still be found 
at Rock Spring. He pointed out one man who was easy to identify. 

"That's my great-grandfather," he said. 

While Brotherton has pictures of past campmeetings, Sherrill said 
that he is working on something that will give future generations a 
chance to see what campmeeting was like in the 1990s. Each night, 
Sherrill still sits outside of his tent with a video camera, taping people as 
they go by. 

"Somebody needed to do it," he said. 

Sherrill started taping in 1994. He said that taping people as they 
walk around gives a true impression of what campmeeting is like. 

"Somewhere down the road, somebody might want to see this," he 
said. 



CROP Walk Begins at Campground 

October 15 - The seventh annual CROP Walk for the Denver area 
will be held October 15 at 2 p.m. starting at Rock Spring Campground. 
Participants in the 10-kilometer walk should bring sponsor forms and 
money they've collected - 25 percent of which goes to the East Lincoln 
Christian Ministry. The rest goes to fight hunger elsewhere. 

Cindy Cloninger organized the fundraiser. 



457 





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458 




Mark Holbrooks starts some last-minute alterations to his family's tent 



459 




Don and Francais Kiser cut their traditional country ham for lunch Sunday 




Ruth and Frank Cherry sit on their swing at their tent 



460 




The Hayes Family of Boone will be joined by the Cockman Family ofSherrills Ford under 
the historic arbor at Rock Spring Campmeeting's annual big singing at 8 p.m. on August 3 




fust Swinging - Valerie West, Marcell Smnmen'ille and Ocie Turbyflll relax on a porch 

swing 



461 




Four generations represented by Man' Virginia Dellinger, daughter Carolyn Dellinger 
Temple, grandson Kent Temple and great-grandsons Hunter (left) and K.T. 










#**.*• 



ift 



(Left) Kathleen Sherrill and Marian Sherrill prepare for campmeeting 



462 



Rock Spring Campground 
Financial Statement as of July 31, 1996 



Date 


Written to 


Ck# 


Debit 


Credit 


Balance 


1-9-95 


Beginning Balance 






$7870.91 


$7870.91 


1-6-95 


Duke Power 




$80.78 




7790.13 


1-9-95 


Lincoln Co. Water 


669 


150.30 




7639.83 


1-9-95 


Deposit 






1065.31 


8705.14 


1-31-95 


Bank service charge/interest 




12.38 


11.50 


8704.26 


2-6-95 


Duke Power 




79.04 




8625.22 


2-28-95 


Bank service charge/interest 




11.57 


10.62 


8624.27 


3-7-95 


Duke Power 




78.95 




8545.32 


3-31-95 


Bank service charge/interest 




11.55 


11.65 


8545.42 


4-6-95 


Duke Power 




78.47 




8466.95 


4-26-95 


Hunter Manufacturing - Plates 




1145.00 




7321.95 


4-28-95 


Bank service charge/interest 




11.54 


11.17 


7321.58 


5-4-95 


Jones Fish Camp 


671 


220.00 




7101.58 


5-5-95 


Duke Power 




78.47 




7023.11 


5-16-95 


U.S. Post Office 


672 


89.60 




6933.51 


5-22-95 


Deposit-Plates 






135.00 


7068.51 


5-22-95 


Deposit-Tent 






75.00 


7143.51 


5-22-95 


Deposit 






60.00 


7203.51 


5-31-95 


Bank service charge/interest 




13.82 


9.70 


7199.39 


6-6-95 


Duke Power 




79.72 




7119.67 


6-30-95 


Bank service charge/interest 




11.33 


10.14 


7118.48 


7-3-95 


Deposit-Tent 






3150.00 


10268.48 


7-6-95 


Terry Barker 


673 


241.60 




10026.88 


7-12-95 


Claremont Wholesale 


674 


1239.72 




8787.16 


7-12-95 


Denver Ornamental Iron 


675 


600.00 




8187.16 


7-12-95 


Callaway Homes 


676 


560.70 




7626.46 


7-28-95 


U.S. Post Office 


677 


8.00 




7618.46 


7-28-95 


Deposit-Tent 






1725.00 


9343.46 


7-28-95 


Deposit-Donation 






200.00 


9543.46 


7-28-95 


Deposit-Plates 






50.00 


9593.46 


7-31-95 


Deposit-lent 






750.00 


10343.46 


7-31-95 


Lincoln Co. Water 


678 


106.53 




10236.93 


8-1-95 


Toney's Cleaning Service 


679 


180.00 




10056.93 


8-1-95 


Denver Equipment 


680 


659.53 




9397.40 


8-1-95 


Mary Watson 


681 


75.00 




9322.40 


8-5-95 


Seven-Music 


682 


450.00 




8872.40 


8-5-95 


The Cockman Family-Music 


683 


450.00 




8422.40 


8-7-95 


Deposit-Offering 






1168.00 


9590.40 


8-7-95 


Deposit-Offering 






3462.66 


13053.06 


8-7-95 


Deposit-Offering 






289.00 


13342.06 


8-7-95 


Deposit-Tent 






2825.00 


16167.06 


8-8-95 


Deposit-Tent 






1825.00 


17992.06 


8-8-95 


Deposit-Offering 






245.00 


18237.06 


8-10-95 


Deposit-Tent 






1850.00 


20087.06 


8-10-95 


Deposit-Offering 






196.00 


20283.06 


8-10-95 


Deposit-Offering 






400.00 


20683.06 


8-14-95 


Deposit-Tent 






600.00 


21283.06 


8-14-95 


Deposit-Offering 






390.00 


21673.06 


8-14-95 


Deposit-Offering 






342.00 


22015.06 



463 



8-14-95 


Deposit-Offering 


8-14-95 


Deposit-Offering 


8-16-95 


Deposit-Tent 


8-16-95 


Deposit-Video 


8-16-95 


Deposit-Plates 


8-28-95 


Deposit-Tent 


8-28-95 


Deposit-Tent 


8-28-95 


Deposit-Arbor 


8-28-95 


Deposit-Arbor 


8-28-95 


Deposit-Arbor 


8-28-95 


Deposit-Plates 


8-9-95 


Kelly Carter 


8-10-95 


Denver Plumbing 


8-10-95 


Ted Hendrix 


8-10-95 


Gene Richardson 


8-10-95 


Brandon Lineberger 


8-11-95 


Annette Lawing 


8-11-95 


Rhonda Martin 


8-11-95 


Denver Vol. Fire Department 


8-11-95 


East Lincoln Fire Department 


8-11-95 


East Lincoln Rescue Squad 


8-11-95 


Amy Edwards 


8-11-95 


Eric Reel 


8-11-95 


Tim Rogers 


8-11-95 


Kim Harris 


8-11-95 


Jackie Fell 


8-14-95 


Jonny Roseboro 


8-19-95 


Denver Locksmith 


8-14-95 


Ronnie Matthews 


8-14-95 


Earline Johnson 


8-14-95 


Lawanna Engle 


8-14-95 


Terry Canipe 


8-14-95 


W. Lee Caskey 


8-14-95 


Lisa Dunivan 


8-14-95 


David Millerstorm 


8-14-95 


R. Craig Rhoney 


8-14-95 


Jeff Warlick 


8-14-95 


Gerald Dellinger 


8-14-95 


Keith Sherrill 


8-14-95 


Jerry Long 


8-14-95 


John Mullins 


8-14-95 


Connie Queen 


8-14-95 


Frank Schrapper 


10-2-95 


Lincoln Co. Water 


7-31-95 


Bank service charge/interest 


7-7-95 


Duke Power 


8-22-95 


Galaxy 


8-7-95 


Duke Power 


8-31-95 


Bank service charge/interest 







356.00 


22371.06 






3125.00 


25496.06 






4825.00 


30321.06 






1680.00 


32,001.06 






465.00 


32466.06 






375.00 


32841.06 






450.00 


33291.06 






100.00 


33391.06 






2425.00 


35816.06 






720.00 


36536.06 






285.00 


36821.06 


684 


175.00 




36646.06 


685 


358.00 




36288.06 


686 


450.00 




35838.06 


687 


300.00 




35538.06 


688 


300.00 




35238.06 


689 


150.00 




35088.06 


690 


150.00 




34938.06 


691 


400.00 




34538.06 


692 


200.00 




34338.06 


693 


400.00 




33938.06 


694 


300.00 




33638.06 


695 


175.00 




33463.06 


696 


175.00 




33288.06 


697 


150.00 




33138.06 


698 


60.00 




33078.06 


699 


600.00 




32478.06 


700 


19.08 




32458.98 


701 


420.00 




32038.98 


702 


60.00 




31978.98 


703 


180.00 




31798.98 


704 


120.00 




31678.98 


705 


180.00 




31498.98 


706 


60.00 




31438.98 


707 


60.00 




31378.98 


708 


120.00 




31258.98 


709 


360.00 




30898.98 


710 


60.00 




30838.98 


711 


360.00 




30478.98 


712 


60.00 




30418.98 


713 


60.00 




30358.98 


714 


120.00 




30238.98 


715 


60.00 




30178.98 


716 


2253.81 




27925.17 




21.73 


13.07 


27916.51 




95.33 




27821.18 


726 


147.75 




27673.43 




345.77 




27327.66 




58.90 


34.09 


27302.85 



464 



10-3-95 Denver Ornamental Iron 

10-3-95 Claremont Wholesale 

10-3-95 Rhonda Martin 

10-3-95 Lincoln Co. Tax 

9-7-95 Duke Power 

9-29-95 Bank service charge/interest 

10-10-95 Deposit-Arbor 

11-24-95 Deposit-Tent 

10-10-95 Deposit- Video 

10-10-95 Deposit-Plates 

10-10-95 Deposit-Offering 

10-30-95 WNCC-TV (Video) 

10-30-95 Gene Richardson (postage) 

Void 
10-5-95 Duke Power 
10-3 1-95 Bank service charge/interest 
12-19-95 BNB Construction (Arbor roof) 
11-3-95 Duke Power 
1 1-30-95 Bank service charge/interest 
12-5-95 Deposit-Arbor 
12-29-95 Bank service charge/interest 
12-5-95 Duke Power 
12-6-95 Checks 
1-3-96 Deposit-Plates 
1-3-96 Deposit-Tent 
1-3-96 Deposit-Donation 
1-3-96 Deposit-Video 
1-27-96 Stacey's 
1-5-96 DukePower 
1-31-96 Bank service charge/interest 
2-6-96 Duke Power 
2-29-95 Bank service charge/interest 
3-20-96 Deposit-County 
3-20-96 Deposit-lent 
3-20-96 Deposit-Arbor 
3-27-96 Deposit-Tent 
3-27-96 Deposit-Shack 
4-8-96 Deposit-Video/ITates 
3-9-96 U.S. Post Office 
3-18-96 Sign Here 
3-7-96 Duke Power 
3-29-96 Bank service charge/interest 
4-4-96 Duke Power 
4-8-96 Deposit-Tent 
4-16-96 Loan-Lincoln Bank 
4-18-96 Sigmon Roofing (Arbor) 
4-18-96 Claremont Wholesale 
4-29-96 Deposit-Tent 
4-30-96 Bank service charge/interest 



717 


36.00 




27266.85 


718 


424.28 




26842.57 


719 


34.40 




26808.17 


720 


69.00 




26739.17 




2557.39 




24181.78 




16.03 


42.67 


24208.42 






400.00 


24608.42 






375.00 


24983.42 






100.00 


25083.42 






90.00 


25173.42 






37.00 


25210.42 


721 


1596.00 




23614.42 


723 


28.52 




23585.90 


722 






23585.90 




86.99 




23498.91 




14.63 


39.71 


23523.99 


724 


700.00 




22823.99 




86.51 




22737.48 




12.89 


36.88 


22761.47 






200.00 


22961.47 




12.79 


37.03 


22985.71 




89.94 




22895.77 




8.00 




22887.77 






120.00 


23007.77 






75.00 


23082.77 






50.00 


23132.77 






301.24 


23434.01 


725 


36.00 




23398.01 




134.57 




23263.44 




14.39 


34.91 


23283.96 




137.84 




23146.12 




11.44 


27.06 


23161.74 






3100.00 


26261.74 






2525.00 


28786.74 






200.00 


28986.74 






1875.00 


30861.74 






1675.16 


32536.90 






155.00 


32691.90 


727 


96.00 




32595.90 


728 


297.33 




32298.57 




93.79 




32204.78 




17.94 


26.80 


32213.64 




79.71 




32133.93 






3450.00 


35583.93 






10000.00 


45583.93 


729 


38097.00 




7486.93 


730 


94.39 




7392.54 






1750.00 


9142.54 




18.17 


26.45 


9150.82 



465 



5-7-96 Duke Power 

5-25-96 Duan Farm 

5-30-96 Deposit-Tent 

5-31-96 Bank service charge/interest 

6-6-96 Duke Power 

6-14-96 Rhodes-Corriher Implement 

6-28-96 Bank service charge/interest 

7-8-96 Claremont Wholesale 

7-11-96 Deposit-Tent 

ENDING BALANCE: 



732 



731 



733 



80.75 




9070.07 


844.99 




8225.08 




1075.00 


9300.08 


12.74 


7.88 


9295.22 


101.53 




9193.69 


874.50 




8319.19 


11.44 


7.24 


8314.99 


38.34 




8276.65 




925.00 


9201.65 
$9,201.65 



466 



1997 

Trustees Meet to Discuss New Bell Tower 

March 15 - Trustees met at Stacy's Restaurant in Denver to discuss 
plans for another campmeeting. 

Following the meeting, they visited the campground to select a lo- 
cation for a new bell tower. 

Saturday, April 6 was decided on for a cleanup workday at the 
grounds. 

YMCA Camp Planned for Rock Spring 

April 1 - Rock Spring Campground is usually an abandoned ghost 
town until late summer when people begin preparing their tents for 
campmeeting. But for five weeks in late May and June, the campground 
will be the site of a summer YMCA camp for kids. 

Sharon Jarvis said that the camp for children ages 5-15 will be spon- 
sored by the Lake Norman YMCA and will run for five weeks this sum- 
mer starting May 27. 

Jarvis said that having the camp at Rock Spring will give it the at- 
mosphere of a "real summer camp," where most activities take place 
outside. 

Jarvis said that having grown up in Virginia she was not familiar 
with campmeeting, but that she knew it was a good place for the camp 
as soon as she saw it. 

"I just thought that it was a really cool place," she said. 

Jarvis approached the Rock Spring board of trustees and the plan for 
the camp was approved. 

Jarvis said that the camp will have arts, crafts, sports, camp songs 
and more. She added that the camp will be Christian-based. 



467 



1997 



Rock Spring is Scene for Wedding 




May 3 - Vanessa Fran Ward and 
Darren Christopher Propst were mar- 
ried May 3 at the Rock Spring Camp- 
ground. Rev. Stuart Johnson offici- 
ated at the 4:30 p.m. double ring cer- 
emony. 

The bride is the daughter of 
Lorene Ward and Bruce Ward, both 
of Iron Station. 

The bridegroom is the son of 
Darrell and Sue Propst of Lowell. 

The campground was decorated 
with hanging baskets of ferns, pot- 
ted red geraniums, potted white im- 
patiens, sunflowers and wreaths. 



Mrs. Darren Christopher Propst 



468 



1997 



Retired Trustee Passes 



June 10 - James Loy McConnell, Sr., 83, of the Buffalo Shoals com- 
munity near Lincolnton, died Tuesday. The funeral will be Thursday at 
3 p.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, with burial to follow in the 
church cemetery. The family will receive friends tonight from 7 to 9 at 
Warlick Funeral Home. 

He was a retired salesman with Electrolux 
Corp. for 30 years and also the N.C. Farm Bureau 
Insurance Co. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he served 
during World War II and received the Purple Heart. 
He was a member of the Odd Fellows of America 
and the board of trustees of Rock Spring 
Campmeeting. 

Mr. McConnell, as a trustee, secured groups 
for the annual "Big Sing." 




469 



1997 



Campmeeting a Timeless Tradition 

August 1 - Rock Spring Campmeeting gets underway this weekend. 
Thousands of campers and visitors are expected to converge on the his- 
toric campground in Denver for the 168th annual campmeeting at the 
site. 

The appeal of the campmeeting, believed to be the oldest of its kind 
in the nation, has remained unchanged over the years, said campground 
trustee Terrv Barker. 

"It's just a good time for fellowship and renewing old acquaintan- 
ces," Barker said. "There are so many people in one place. You just get to 
know people. A lot of people have met their wives or husbands at camp- 
meeting." 

"We're expecting a big turnout for that," Barker said of the Saturday 
show. "We've had people calling from Lexington, Elkin, all over. I guess 
they've heard about it on the radio." 

"It's just getting bigger," Barker said. "We feel we're carrying on the 
tradition that was handed down to us." 



Top Gospel Groups in Concert 

Two nationally-known gospel groups scheduled to perform Satur- 
day, August 3 include the Nelons, a Southern gospel group, and the Lewis 
Family, a noted bluegrass gospel group. 



470 



Rock Spring Campmeeting 

August 3-10, 1997 



Tent Tax & Utilities - $75.00 

Tent tax and utilities will be $75.00 for each tent. Since the Arbor debt has been 
retired, it is not necessary to ask for an assessment this year Thanks to all of you for 
being so understanding last year and helping us to meet our financial obligations so 
promptly. We all want our campground to look good and keep the "campmeeting tradition" 
alive and well. We are asking this year to please mail your check in by July 27th in the 
enclosed self-addressed envelope. It is a lot of money to carry around late at night and as 
you all well know, things just aren't as safe as they used to be In order to encourage 
mailing in early, there will be an additional $10.00 added to tent tax if you wait until after 
July 27th for a total of $85.00. Please be sure to put your tent number on your check and 
make checks payable to Rock Spring Campground. 

Curfew - 12:00 midnight 

The trustees have decided that it is time again to enforce a midnight curfew. It 
seems that we are having more and more non-tent owners staying late into the night and 
we want everyone to be safe, so we are asking that everyone be in there tent area by 
midnight. 

Big Singing - Saturday, August 2 

The Lewis Family and The Nelons will be the guest singers at our Saturday night 
singing. Of course, Friday night will be our local friends and family. 

Campmeeting Preacher - Reverend Bruce Hobson 

The preacher this year will be Reverend Bruce Hobson Rev. Hobson is a retired 
Methodist minister and is from the Bessemer City area. Let's all come out and show our 
support for him and remember the true purpose for campmeeting. 

Tent Repairs 

As you all know, winter can be hard on our tents, so be sure to go by and check your 
tent early enough to make any necessary repairs. We want everyone to be ready to have 
fun and celebrate when campmeeting gets here. 

Reminder: 

Any and all trash removed from your tent must be hauled off of campground 
property . Do not dump trash on campground. Also, straw is to be removed from your tent 
after campmeeting is over. This could be a serious fire hazard. 

Campground Trustees 

If you ever have questions, comments, or concerns about the campground your 
trustees are: 

Co-chairmen Jerry Sigmon - 483-2277 Jerry Dellinger - 483-5272 

Clyde Armstrong - 483-2883 Terry Barker - 483-5848 

Van Barker - 483-2710 Dwight Callaway - 483-5140 

Johnny Sigmon - 483-3526 Joe Ervin - 483-3859 

Ted Hendrix - 483-9823 Gary Holbrooks - 735-2203 

We appreciate everyone's hard work to keep a religious tradition alive. Thank 
you. 



471 



As concerned citizens of Lincoln County and the Rock Springs Campeeting 
Community, we feel our 200 + years of Campmeeting tradition and all that 
our forefathers have stood for has been pushed aside. Our children and 
grandchildren will be missing a vital part of their lives if we have to 
attend school during our traditional "Big Week". If you have never had 
the opportunity to be a part of such a large family, then it's hard to 
imagine how strong our feelings are about our tradition. 

The undersigned do hereby request that our calendar school year be 
changed to accomodate our Tradition. 



NAME 



ADDRESS 



TENT NO. 



This petition was circulated during the 1997 

campmeeting urging a school start that would not 

interfere with campmeeting. 



472 



THE ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 

1997 SCHEDULE 

August 1 - August 10, 1997 



CHOIR LEADER 
CHILDREN'S PROGRAM 
YOUTH PROGRAM 
CAMPMEETING PREACHER 



amy edwards 

annette lawing & rhonda martin 

chad Mcintosh 

rev. bruce hobson 



LITTLE SINGING - FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 1997 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring Local Talents 
BIG SINGING - SATURDAY, AUGUST 2, 1997 - 8:00 PM 

Featuring 

THE LEWIS FAMILY and 

THE REX NELON SINGERS 



Worship Service August 3, 1 1:00 a.m. 

Worship Service August 3-9, 8:00 p.m. ■ 

Worship Service August 10, 11:00 a.m. 



■ Rev. Ted Hendrix 
Rev. Bruce Hobson 
- Rev. Ted Hendrix 



TIME OF SERVICES 

Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Both Sundays 

Children's Program 6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday 

Morning Worship Service 11:00 a.m. Monday-Thursday 

PARTICIPATING CHOIRS - MUSIC FOR EVENING SERVICES 

Little Sunday - Bethel United Methodist 

Monday - Webbs Chapel United Methodist 

Tuesday - Salem United Methodist 

Wednesday - Hills Chapel United Methodist 

Thursday - Denver United Methodist 

Friday - Fairfield United Methodist 

OUR SPEAKERS FOR THE MORNING SERVICES WILL BE: 

Monday - Rev. Amy Moore 

Tuesday - Rev. Timothy Moore 

Wednesday - Rev. Eric Reece 

Thursday - Rev. James Pyatt 

Friday - Reserved for Children's Program 



473 



Everyone is invited to see. 




The Lewis Family 




Free Admission 

Place: Rock Spring Campground 
Under the Old Arbor 
Denver, NC 

Date: Saturday, August 2nd 

Time: 8:00 p.m. 

A voluntary love offering will be accepted. 



474 



CAMP MEETING 

I've only been there just one time 
But what a sight to see. 
Now I'll try to express in this little rhyme 
What Camp Meeting meant to me. 

Camp Meeting first means FAMILY, 

A gathering of each clan. 

Where once came covered wagons. 

Now brought by car and van. 

A time to be together 

And old ties to renew. 

To sit with each other on the front porch swing 

And share a tale or two. 

Camp Meeting is REMEMBRANCE, 

A time of "remember when". 

Oh! Those precious days of long ago, 

And the way it was back then. 

The country ham that Mama would bring 

And live chickens in a sack. 

The straw spread out on every floor, 

And water from the spring out back. 

I wish I could have been there then, 

Heard their voices when they would sing 

"Rock of Ages", "Beulah Land", 

And "Hallelujah, Thine the Glory, Revive us Again" 

Camp Meeting is TRADITION 

To precious babies yet unborn 
These "tents" will seem like home, 
And they will return year after year 
No matter where they roam. 

Camp Meeting is finally WORSHIP 

Out in the old brush arbor. 

It gives us food for our souls today, 

And strengthens us for tomorrow. 

How we love to get together. 

It prepares us for by and by, 

When we will all meet again as God's family 

At that great Camp Meeting in the sky. 



Martha Brooks 
August 1997 



Poem written in 1997 about campmeeting 

475 



1998 



Here Lies History 



April 3 - Historical markers will be popping up around Lincoln 
County like spring flowers if Darrell Harkey has his way. 

Working with the Historic Properties Commission, Harkey the 
county historical coordinator, is selling customized signs to owners of 
historic sites in the county for $20. More than 500 locations on the 
commission's study list are eligible for the brown and white placards, he 
said. 

The commission also is placing markers at the sites it owns. The 
first location will be the Gen. Peter Forney grave site off Mariposa Road. 
Forney was an officer in the Revolutionary War, a U.S. congressman and 
an iron manufacturer. 

"They are going to be all over the county soon," said Harkey, who 
has already sold more than a half dozen of the markers. "We want folks 
to get used to seeing them and know what they mean." 

He said he would eventually 
like to offer a map that lists all 
of the sites. 




Terry Brotherton and Darrell Harkey 

erect historic site marker at Rock Spring 

Campground. 



476 



1998 



Gospel Singers Featured at Concert 

August 1 - The Annual Rock Spring Campmeeting will begin at 7:30 
p.m. with a gospel concert at the Rock Spring Campground in Denver. 
Three groups will be featured this year: The Ruppes, Dwayne Burke and 
Jerico and The Cockman Family. 

The Ruppes are a mother/daughter trio from Inman, SC. The group 
has been together since 1974 and has been nominated for numerous 
gospel music awards. They are noted for the anointed spirit they impart 
to the audience. 

Dwayne Burke has been involved in Christian music since he was 
15 years old. He began touring with the group Jericho in 1993. Since 
their beginning, Jericho has received exposure from radio, television 
and trade magazines. The members of the group feel their greatest re- 
ward comes from seeing people respond and surrender their lives to 
Christ. 

The Cockman Family Gospel Group is made up of four brothers, 
their sister and their dad. They have been singing publicly for over 10 
years and have produced nine cassettes, three CDs and a live video. Since 
1994, the Cockman Family has released seven original singles to radio. 
The group's family ties are strong and their warmth is conveyed in their 
performances. 



477 




Singing Ruppes 



478 




Jericho 



Cockman Family 




479 



n 

a 

s 



o 

*■« 
S* 

a 

5 
re 









re 




480 



1998 



Campmeeting Rolls Back the Years 

August 2 - With the tantalizing smell of home-cooked meals and 
the chatter of children, the Rock Spring Campmeeting ground came to 
life this weekend kicking off 10 days of religious revival and socializing. 

Agnes Cline, 90, remembers when families brought their horses, 
cattle and chickens and made the campground a home-away-from-home 
for two weeks. 

"We've brought our chickens here and killed them and dressed them 
right here," said Cline, of Denver, who has come almost every year of 
her life. "The tents were real shabby. We had no electric lights." 

But it's still a much more relaxed lifestyle, and Mimi Brotherton of 
Cornelius, who stays the whole two weeks with her two daughters, while 
her husband comes and goes for work. 

"It's very laid back," Brotherton said. "Playing cards is the biggest 
entertainment." 

The campground is run by a board of trustees, but the individual 
tents, which are permanent structures, are owned by families. Despite 
changes over the years, the tradition remains strong, said Jerry Sigmon, 
a board of trustees member. 

"It has an allure that I suppose you don't get somewhere else," 
Sigmon said. 

"Everyone works now," said Giles Henley, 53, who came in from 
Altemonte Springs, FL. "They spend the evening and nights here and 
work during the day." 



481 



1998 



Annual Meeting Important Part of Lives 

August 2 - "There are people who live their lives just to come to 
campmeeting for two weeks of every year," said the Rev. Ted Hendrix, 
pastor of the Rock Spring Charge, which is made up of Webbs Chapel 
and Bethel Methodist Church. 

"I grew up in Kannapolis and went to campground meetings there, 
but I would have to say that this campground is one of the most authen- 
tic and, in terms of longevity, the best one in the country." 

"I have been coming to campmeetings all my life and I just love it," 
said Rita Lynch of Denver. "The whole atmosphere is just great because 
it gives you a chance to see people that you haven't seen in a while and 
catch up." 

Lynch, the mother of six children, said she enjoys getting away from 
home and staying in the rural cabins. She said the feeling that she gets 
worshipping in the woods and fellowshipping is hard to describe for 
someone who has never been to campmeeting. 

"You just get a sense of peace when you come out here," she said. 

"These tents tend to stay in the family, but when they sell, they sell 
for about $20,000," Hendrix said. 

Even though the purpose of the campmeeting is to celebrate the 
members' faith, the get-together also serves as a way of keeping family 
and friendship ties strong. 

Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Brotherton has been coming 
to campmeeting since he was a baby and he said as he aged, the meaning 
of the campground meeting has changed for him. 

"As a child I just saw campground meetings as one big playground 
because I had a chance to play with other kids my age," he said. "But as 
I got older I cultivated an appreciation about what the institution was 
really about. It's like a family reunion even though you aren't kin to 
everyone there." 

Along with family ties that are strengthened, diet restrictions are 

482 



1998 



loosened during campmeeting. 

Brotherton said that a lot of food is included as part of campmeet- 
ing, including his contribution of Bologna Day. 

"For about four years, Barry Lucky, Junior Howard, Gary McCorkle 
and I have been making fried bologna sandwiches and giving them away," 
he said. 

"The history of this goes back to a time when there were two stores 
that used to make fried bologna sandwiches and sell them. People would 
come from miles around during their lunch hours to get the bologna, 
but now you can't find a place in east Lincoln that sells bologna sand- 
wiches. So that is why we do it." 

Brotherton said other campers distribute fried shrimp, watermelon, 
ham, ice cream and other treats to fellow campers. 



483 



1998 



Just Give Me that Old-Time Religion 

August 7 - "You raise your children to come, and they raise their 
children to come," said Peggy Hoyle. Campmeetings are a tradition, ex- 
plained her husband Rick. 

"My mother had a home tent here, and from the time of my birth 
she brought me to campmeetings. When I was a young man my dad 
bought a tent. After my wife and I were married a few years, we learned 
that the tent next to his was for sale. Our eyes lit up like two Christmas 
trees," he said. 

Bright-eyed, cupcake-covered children played in front of Frances 
Brotherton's tent when Eve Haire walked up. 

Haire recalls the first time her children saw the camp. "As we rode 
up, I pointed and said, 'Kids, those are the tents.' And they said, 'Mama, 
those are shacks!' And I said, 'No. The shack is over there where you buy 
all your goodies - your hot dogs, your ice cream.'" 

"It's a hard place to describe," she said, shaking her head. But de- 
scribing the way things used to be was another matter. 

"They came on two-horse wagons. You brought all your food and 
stayed for the solid week. You'd bake enough pies, enough cakes, what- 
ever you were going to eat. They cooked on little stoves on the ground, 
and the tents were really shacks back then. They had sheds built over 
the back with brush roofs. The spring was across the road, and the out- 
houses were down the hill," said Haire. 

Betty Howard married into the tradition. Her husband's mother was 
serious about campmeetings, very serious - five weeks after the mother 
of 10 had become the mother of 12, she was at the campmeeting with 
all 12 children. 

So Betty's husband grew up at campmeetings. So did Betty. And she 
keeps coming back for the preaching. 

"Robin Dixon preached last Sunday and Monday night, and he re- 
ally got things on fire. He laid it on the line, fire and brimstone, and 

484 



1998 



that's what the place was built on," she said. 

Across the alley, 11-week-old Kayley Howard Fairley sleeps in her 
mother Katrina Howard Fairley's arms. Mom was giving her daughter 
what had been given to her by her mother - a heritage of campmeetings. 

"Campmeetings are my church. I've seen weddings here; my cous- 
ins had their little babies baptized here the other day. Even if you don't 
feel comfortable in a regular church, you can feel comfortable here," 
said Katrina Howard Fairley. 

Beatrice Howard, a distant relative of Fairley's, rocks in the porch 
swing beside her. 

"Saturday night was our big singing. The sun was setting. That was 
the most beautiful picture I have ever in my life seen. It was kind of 
cloudy, and that sun was going down. It got brighter and brighter. Ev- 
eryone was looking up," she said. 

Matt McCall met Jennifer Michael at the campmeeting two years 
ago. 

"I was sitting on my swing swinging one night, and Matt's friends 
brought him down meet me," she said. 

"She was good looking," said Matt. 

"He was sweet," said Jennifer. 

Trustee Retires 

August 9 - Announcement was made today at the 11 a.m. worship 
service of the retirement of Rev. Joe Irvin, a trustee for over 20 years. 

Trustees presented a plaque to Rev. Irvin recognizing his many years 
of service to the campground. 

Bynum Caldwell was named to replace Rev. Irvin. 



485 



1998 



They'll Be Back Again Next Year 

August 9 - The bell rang. It was the final call to worship for this 
year's Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

The arbor was filled with the faithful, singing and worshipping with 
friends and family. 

Afterwards, folks packed up. Quilts were neatly folded. Porches were 
swept, and lots of hugs and good-byes were said. 

Occasionally there were tears. But they were sweet tears, the kind 
folks cry at marriages and when a child takes his first step. Friendships 
would be missed, but new ones had been made. 

And the old-timers say that it has always been that way. 

J.W. Sigmon has been coming to campmeetings for 74 years, his 
wife, Vannie, for 50. 

J.W. recalls camp life when he was a boy. 

"We came by wagon, and hitched the horses back yonder in the 
trees," he said. 

Vannie still remembers the outhouses, and the fryers strutting about 
the alleys unaware of their fate, and the kids toting water from the spring. 

And they both still enjoy the preaching under the arbor and the 
fellowship. 

"It's just a wonderful thing. We look forward to it every year. The 
young ones you see everywhere are the guarantee that this will go on," 
said Vannie. 



486 




Cindy White, member of the East Lincoln Band Booster's Club, takes an order for drinks 
from Brigail Bivens-Younger and her grandmother, Mary Whisnant. 




If Daniel Asbnry, the first preacher at 

campmeeting in 1794, could see Stephanie 

Smith and Casey hawing tossing the seemingly 

weightless Frisbee, he just may have thought the 

Martians had landed. 



Ford Mayhew takes a rest. 



487 



THE ROCK SPRING CAMPMEETING 
1998 SCHEDULE 
July 31 - August 9, 1998 
CHOIR LEADER ANGELA BALLARD 

CHILDREN'S PROGRAM ANNETTE LAWING & RHONDA MARTIN 

YOUTH PROGRAM CHAD McINTOSH 

CAMPMEETING PREACHER REV. TED HENDRIX 

GUEST PREACHER REV. ANDY LAMBERT 

LITTLE SINGING - FRIDAY, JULY 31, 1998 - 7:30 PM 

Featuring 

"Local Talents" 

BIG SINGING - SATURDAY, AUGUST 1, 1998 - 7:30 PM 

Featuring 

THE RUPPES from Goodletts, Tenn. 

THE COCKMAN FAMILY from Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

"JERICHO" from Maiden, N.C. 

Morning Worship August 2, 11:00 a.m. 
Morning Worship August 9, 11:00 a.m. 

TIME OF SERVICES 
Sunday School 10:00 a.m. Both Sundays 

Morning Worship 11:00 a.m. 

Evening Worship 8:00 p.m. Each Evening 

Children's Program 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday 

Youth Program 9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday 

PARTICIPATING CHOIRS & MUSICIANS 

Music for Evening Services 

Little Sunday Morning - Bethel Trio 

Little Sunday Evening - Bethel United Methodist Church 

Monday - Webbs Chapel United Methodist Church 

Tuesday - Salem United Methodist Church 

Wednesday - Hills Chapel United Methodist Church 

Thursday - Denver United Methodist Church 

Friday - Fairfield United Methodist Church 

Saturday Evening - The Campground Choir 

Big Sunday Morning - The Campground Choir 

CAMPGROUND CHOIR REHEARSALS: 

July 12, 2:30 at Westport Baptist Church 

July 26, 2:30 at Salem Methodist Church 

July 29, 7:30 at the Campground Arbor 

488 



1998 



CROP Walkers Depart from Rock Spring 

October 18 - More than 275 walkers gathered under Rock Spring 
Campground arbor prior to their CROP Walk for East Lincoln County. 




489 




490 



Rock Spring Campmeeting 
August 1-8, 1999 



Hello Rock Springs Tent Owners. 

Just when you were wondering if we lost your address .... finally, you're getting a letter. 
Yes. it's almost time for campmeeting again. The power and water are both on so we can make 
any repairs and changes necessary to the tents. Pretty soon it will even be time to clean the tents 
out and decorate for the part of summer that we have all come to love. CAMPMEETING. 

Little singing will be Friday. July 30th at 7:00 p.m. with groups from the community 
singing. Saturday night, "big singing" will start at 7:00 p.m. with the gospel groups Won By One 
and The Isaac's. 

The minister for campmeeting this year will be Lenny Stadler. Pastor of Weddington 
United Methodist Church, Waxhaw, North Carolina. Preaching will begin at S:00 p.m. each 
evening. We hope everyone will come out and support our campmeeting worship services. 

Tent tax and utilities is $85.00. Please return in the enclosed envelope. 



We hope that everyone will come to campmeeting with a spirit of worship, ready for good 
fellowship, and always be thoughtful of your neighbors. Let's make this the "Best Campmeeting 
Ever." 



Co-chairmen Jerry Sigmon - 483-2277 Jerry Dcllinger - 483-5272 

Clyde Armstrong - 483-2883 Tern,' Barker - 483-5848 

Van Barker - 483-27 1 Dwighl Callaway - 483-5 1 40 

Johnny Sigmon - 483-9327 Bynum Caldwell - 483-4000 

Ted Hendrix - 4S3-9823 Gary Holbrooks - 483-1 542 

We welcome Bynum Caldwell as our newest trustee; he is replacing Joe Irvin. Thanks 
Joe for all the years of service and dedication. 



491 



1999 

Rock Spring Comes to Life Today 

July 31 - "It's hard to explain what draws people, but they come 
from everywhere," said Jerry Sigmon, chairman of the board of trustees. 

The activities begin with gospel singing tonight, followed by a 
church service Sunday. 

Sermons will follow every night during the week, capped off by a 
service August 8 on what is known as "Big Sunday." 

After the final service, families start packing up and the mini-city 
disappears until next summer. 

"At 2 p.m. everyone starts clearing out," Sigmon said. "We open the 
gates and let them go." 

Campmeeting Schedule 

August 1 - According to a preliminary schedule of activities, all wor- 
ship services begin at 8 p.m. Morning worship daily will be held August 
1 through August 8 at 11 a.m., and Sunday School at 10 a.m. 

The Children's Program, daily, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. August 2 
through August 6, and the Youth Program, daily, at 9:30 p.m. August 2 
through August 6. 

Participants this year include: Choir Leader, Angela Ballard; 
Children's Program, Annette Lawing and Rhonda Martin; Youth Pro- 
gram, Chad Mcintosh; Campmeeting Minister, Rev. Ted Hendrix; and 
Guest Preacher, Rev. Lenny Stadler of Wedding United Methodist Church. 



492 



1999 



Norwood a Happy Camper at Rock Spring 

August 1 - For the past 83 years, no matter what the circumstances, 
Laura Norwood has made it to the annual Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

When pregnant with her first daughter, "pregnant women didn't 
go around then like they do now," Norwood said. Yet she still made it to 
campmeeting, although she did sit on a grassy knoll behind the tents, 
which are actually small wooden structures. 

During the polio epidemic in 1948, even though no services were 
held because of a federal advisory, Norwood and her family spent some 
time at the campground anyway. 

Another year, a trip to Alaska conflicted with the week of camp- 
meeting. Arriving home the evening of the last Sunday after services, 
Norwood drove her car down to the campgrounds and circled around a 
few times. "Just so I could say I was here," she said. 

One summer, Norwood's place of employment refused to let her 
have the week of campmeeting off. But, while helping unwind the chain 
of her husband's bird-dog from around a tree, she was knocked off her 
feet, breaking her arm. She made it to campmeeting that summer after 
all. 

Norwood's devotion to the campmeeting is clear. "It's something 
that when you've done it, you don't want to miss it," she said. 

When she was a child, she tented with other family members after 
her mother's death in 1920, until her father began attending the meet- 
ing again. 

After her marriage to Jack Norwood in the late 1930s, Norwood's 
dedication to the campmeeting never waned. Jack was familiar with the 
Balls Creek Campground and fell right into attending the annual Rock 
Spring gathering. 

After her husband's death in 1979, Norwood and her three chil- 
dren, Betty Greenway of Pilot Mountain, Dana Gates of Lincolnton and 
Barry Norwood of Charlotte, continued the family tradition. Now the 

493 



1999 



family gathering includes four grandchildren and two great-grandchil- 
dren, with "one on the way." 

And for Norwood, who celebrates her 84th birthday on August 9, 
the annual campmeeting still holds a special place in her heart. 

"To me, it's one of the most wonderful places on earth," Norwood 
said. "If I live to be 100, I hope someone will get me down here." 

Nowadays, cars are jam-packed along the sides of the road surround- 
ing the outer row of tents. The small abodes are equipped with electric- 
ity and running water "for a certain part of the year.. .from a couple of 
weeks before campmeeting to a couple of weeks after," said Norwood's 
daughter, Betty Greenway. 

The kitchen area has a refrigerator and stove, just like a regular 
kitchen. And, with an indoor toilet, "we feel like we're uptown now," 
Norwood said. 

Bathtubs and showers are still a rarity at the campgrounds. "You 
take a bucket bath or go home," said Greenway. "Most go home." 

"Or you can take a polka-dot bath," Norwood added, laughing. 

The Norwood tent, No. 77 , is newer than some. After a fire destroyed 
their end of the campground about 15 years ago, it was one of many 
that had to be rebuilt. Even the line of ancient oak trees in front of the 
tents burned. 

"We were afraid the fire would destroy the arbor," said Greenway. 

Norwood remembers what the campground was like "in the old 
days." When she began attending campmeeting in 1916, automobiles 
were scarce. She can even recall traveling in a covered wagon through- 
out the night to reach the campgrounds. 

"I can remember the ice trucks with tongs," said Greenway. 

Vendors also lined the road, all the way to the present Denver Cross- 
roads area, selling "Kewpie dolls, paddle balls, beads and candy," said 
Greenway. Children would save their coins and buy a stick of candy that 

494 



1999 



would last them all week, said Norwood. 

The campmeeting is still "family, friends and fun," said Green way. 

And, as well as being a place to see family and friends, the Rock 
Spring Campmeeting has provided a place of worship and a renewing of 
the spirit throughout its history. 

For Laura Norwood, campmeeting is all that and more. 

"I haven't been able to explain the feeling I have when I see this 
place," she said. "Campmeeting has been nothing but a blessing for me. 
I always ask the Lord to keep me so I can make it one more year." 




Laura Norwood enjoys the shad)' front porch of tent No. 77 



495 



ANNU/UL ROCK SPRINGS CAMPMEETING 

GOiPll CONCERT 




#5 Song: I've Come To Take You Home 

ROCK SPRINGS CAMPGROUND 
DENVER, NC 

Saturday, July 31, 1999 • 7:00 PM 

Join us under the arbor for a spectacular night of Gospel Music. You may 
want to bring a lawn chair since seating under the arbor is limited. 

Admission is Free. A love offering will be taken. 



496 




Zac Crow, 3, and his sister Madeline 




Relaxing in front of their tent are, from left, Bill Haire, Billy Haire, Eva Haire, Frances 

Brotherton and Kathy Mayfield 



497 




Six-year-olds Macon Michael, left, and Carson Shoupe take advantage of a shady spot. A 
scorching temperature of 104 degrees curtailed most daytime activity during the weekend. 



Kids enjoy their bikes at 
the campground 




498 




Paul Abernathy, 12, scoops up ice cream to cool off 



499 



c s" 



n 

— ^ 
— — 

a 
a 



= 



2 




500 



1999 



Beatty Reunion 



September 19 - The annual Beatty family reunion was held at Rock 
Spring Campground today. A 1 p.m. covered-dish dinner was available, 
with a program on the family history following. 



Good Hoofing Weather 



October 7 - Hurricane Irene was not enough to stop the annual 
CROP Walk in Lincolnton and Denver Sunday. 

Though clouds hovered and light rain fell Sunday morning, by the 
afternoon temperatures reached 70 degrees and the sun broke through 
the clouds. 

CROP walkers in East Lincoln gathered for the tenth year at the 
arbor at Rock Spring Campground. Their 6.2-mile walk began at the ar- 
bor, continued down Campground Road to the lake and back. 



501 



2000 

Campmeeting May Push School Calendar 
Back 

March 2 - Lincoln County's Rock Spring Campmeeting could mean 
the 2000-01 school year will start a week later than scheduled. 

The Lincoln County school board voted 5-2 Wednesday to ask its 
calendar committee if it is possible to push back the already-announced 
opening day from August 7 to August 14. Some members want to ac- 
commodate the nationally renowned event that brings hundreds together 
for a week of singing, preaching and fellowship. 

This year's campmeeting is scheduled to begin August 6 at the Rock 
Spring Campground off NC-16. 

Board chairman Betty Lawing said it's a popular cultural event that 
students should have the chance to attend. She said some students have 
gotten parents' permission to skip school for the camp in the past, and 
admitted she was one of them. 

"If there was school going on (at campmeeting time) when I was a 
child, my parents didn't send me," Lawing said. 

But other board members and Superintendent Martin Eaddy ques- 
tioned the wisdom of starting school later, noting that it might post- 
pone end-of-semester tests until after the Christmas break. 

"The question is, when do you want high school exams?" Eaddy 
asked. He contended students score better on tests given before the long 
Christmas break. 

Eaddy said many parents have gotten used to the idea of pre-Christ- 
mas tests, and have come to see the benefits. 

What's more, Eaddy said, the state requires 90 classroom days before 
the tests. He said postponing the first day of school could force the can- 
cellation of scheduled holidays, including Election Day, and eliminate 
some pre-Christmas days from the break. 

Lawing and board member Jean Dellinger said the calendar com- 

502 



2000 




mittee should at least be given the chance to ex- 
plore that possibility. 

But board member Virginia Dellinger, who 
voted against the idea, questioned changing a 
date that's been announced and publicized 

Board clerk Penni Davis asked what school 
staffers should tell parents in the meantime. 

"You tell them it's in the hands of the school 
board," Lawing replied. 

Board member Joe Miller, who admitted he's 
unfamiliar with the Rock Spring meeting, sug- 
gested that campmeeting organizers might solve 
Eaddy the school board's problem by starting the an- 

nual meeting earlier than the first Sunday in August. 

"That's not possible," Virginia Dellinger replied. "It's been a tradi- 
tion for eons." 

"It's an important part of Lincoln County's heritage," said Rita Lynch, 
who has children at Rock Springs and Pumpkin Center Middle School. 
"Campmeeting isn't the same without kids." 

Lynch hasn't decided whether she'll pull her children out of school 
for all or part of the week-long event that has taken place at a church- 
owned East Lincoln campground for more than 150 years. 

"They might go to class, but they won't learn much that week," she 
said, explaining they'll probably stay up well past 9 p.m. 

The camp means so much to parent Maria Beard that she said she'd 
refuse a free trip to the Bahamas if it conflicted with the annual tradi- 
tion. Beard said her kids will miss the first week of school next year and 
every year if the board doesn't change the calendar. 
"Mine won't go - ever," Beard said. 
Other parents echoed her, saying the board could easily cut teacher 



503 



2000 



work days or winter break to accommodate a later start. 

"There's no way they can't finagle and get five days," parent Debbie 
Ewing said, adding students don't need three weeks off at Christmas. 
The winter break begins December 15 and students return January 4. 

One solution supporters won't consider is moving camp. "It's a tra- 
dition," Ewing said. People have planned vacations around camp for 
years, she said. 



The following appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the March 1 7 
Lincoln-Times News; 

Don't Take Away Heritage 

My dad retired horn teaching school in Lincoln County more than 
forty years ago, and he always said, "If you don't remember, you didn't 
learn." I believe this to be true today. If students cannot remember one 
week what they have learned, then they are not learning - just making 
a "good score card." 

My grandchildren will be coming from Georgia to attend camp- 
meeting, so the school calendar does not affect me directly. Why was 
the calendar changed to start the first of August anyway? I attended 
campmeeting more than 70 years and school was not started until the 
second week of August. We were dismissed for cotton picking for six 
weeks and I do believe we got a full year's education. 

I support the teachers and their need for bonuses and I do not be- 
lieve that their interest is based on an excellent score card. 

Don't take away our heritage. Everything doesn't come horn books. 

Frances M. Riser 
Lowesville 



504 



2000 



Rock Spring Meeting Features Gospel 

Croups, Former Minister 

July 28 - Rock Spring Campmeeting gets underway Friday, August 4 
with the traditional "Little Singing" service featuring local groups, and 
"Big Singing" on Saturday featuring The Hoppers and The Cockman 
Family from Sherrills Ford. 

The Hoppers' most famous recording is their "Shouting Time in 
Heaven" which has been a tremendous success, said campmeeting min- 
ister Rev. Ted Hendrix. 

Preaching services will begin on "Little Sunday," August 6 when the 
Rev. Hendrix brings the morning message. He will also preach on "Big 
Sunday," August 13, which officially ends campmeeting. 

Hendrix said that the Rev. Eddie Black, former minister of Denver 
United Methodist Church, will be the guest speaker for the evening ser- 
vices. Black is currently minister of the First United Methodist Church 
in Norwood. "We are indeed pleased to have Eddie return to the Denver 
area," said Hendrix. 

Music will be provided at all of the services by local church choirs 
and individuals. 

The schedule of services: 

Sunday morning services at 11 a.m. 

Evening services begin at 8 p.m. 

Children's programs begin at 6:30 each evening. 

Older youth programs follow the evening wor- 
ship services. 

Morning services (Mon.-Fri.) at 11 a.m. con- 
ducted by local ministers. 

"Come join your friends for some old-fashioned 
singing, preaching and fellowship," said Hendrix. 

Re\: Eddie Black 




505 



2000 



Camp Revival Meeting Keeps Relationships 
Alive 

August 6 - Their late grandfather, Sam Moore, came to a Rock Spring 
Campmeeting in a covered wagon with goats and chickens. 

Arriving early as usual this year, the Rays of Asheville and the 
Shiffletts of Stanley came together for a summer camp reunion without 
their grandfather and the stories he liked to tell. 

Sam Moore died in January at age 87. He missed only one camp- 
meeting in his life. In May, his wife Angie also passed away. 

"The reason we are still close is because of them," said Deanice 
Shifflett, 42, who has attended the camp annually since she was a child. 

The same is true for first cousin Karen Ray. She has made the annual 
trip to the camp with Shifflett and their family since she was born 37 
years ago. 

"The traditions are wonderful. It's not so much the family tradition 
as it is the camp tradition," said Ray. 

The two mothers said they hope to pass that love for the Rock Spring 
Camp onto their children. 

"My kids are growing up with it," said Ray. 

The family has two tents filled with six grandchildren and 12 great- 
grandchildren. 

Two of their daughters echo their thoughts of the camp's signifi- 
cance in their lives. 

"I get to see my cousins and friends," said Jami Ray, 12. "During the 
day, we normally sit on the swings, play softball and walk around at 
night." 

Her cousin, Allison Shifflett, 13, of Stanley, describes the camp as 
peaceful, especially during the day. "It calms your nerves," she said. 

While washing green beans for dinner one night last week, Deanice 
Shifflett said it will be hard this year without her grandfather. 

"He was an awesome man," she said, as she and Karen Ray prepared 

506 



2000 



a dinner of beans, country ham and squash. While they cooked, they 
reminisced. 

For Shifflett and Ray, the annual camp brings back memories of youth 
when they courted boys at night, rocked tents, and found God in their 
lives. 

"They used to lock me in the outhouse and throw rocks on the 
roof," said Shifflett. 

Today, the Rays stay in a wooden cabin, with lumber from a tree cut 
down when the camp tradition started 206 years ago. She said she feels 
safe there. 

"I felt like it was always sturdier because it was made by hand," said 
Ray. 

"I think it is very safe and accurate to say it is alive and thriving. It's 
for both the spiritual and social aspects and it is also a throwback to an 
era when lives were simpler and less hectic and everybody had more 
time to visit with their neighbors," said the Rev. Jim Pyatt, minister for 
Denver United Methodist Church. 



507 



2000 



Rock Spring Alarmed 



August 9 - The Rock Spring Campmeeting weathered threats from 
Yankee soldiers, a polio epidemic and fires without changing its sched- 
ule in nearly 200 years. But a change in this year's Lincoln County school 
calendar has turned the campground into a ghost town, according to a 
Lincoln County commissioner who has attended the event for 54 years. 

Commissioner Terry Brotherton said parents and their children, who 
usually sleep at the camp, are breaking a tradition more than a century 
old and going home each night to prepare for school. Youth participa- 
tion in evening church services has dropped about 75 percent compared 
with last year, he said. 

Today at 9 p.m., several camp participants will meet with Lincoln 
County School Board Chairman Betty Lawing and Vice Chairman Joe 
Miller, Jr., to discuss the problem. The meeting will be at camp site No. 
107, Brotherton's tent. 

Lawing said the school district did everything it could to avoid start- 
ing school the same week as the campmeeting. 

"I sympathize with Mr. Brotherton," Lawing said. "I've always sup- 
ported starting school after the Rock Spring Campmeeting." 

Lawing said school board members turned down the first school 
calendar proposed for the 2000-01 school year because it conflicted with 
the camp's schedule. 

"That's heritage there," Lawing said. "I went there many times as a 
child." 

But children come first, she said. School board members approved 
the earlier start date after considering it a second time. 

Lawing said teachers and administrators convinced the majority of 
the school board members that they needed an earlier start date for school 
this year to complete ABC testing before the Christmas break. 

"There's a lot of mediation going on," Lawing said. "And we have 
to pay a lot of attention to those tests." 

508 



2000 



Parents Say School Start Threatens 

Tradition 

August 10 - A school calendar may threaten a 206-year-old reli- 
gious gathering, parents say. 

Around 50 parents met informally with three members of the seven- 
member school board last night at Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

Lincoln County students returned to the classroom August 7 this 
year. The campmeeting began August 4 and runs through this weekend. 
This is the first year the two events have conflicted. 

School officials say the current calendar was created to allow stu- 
dents to take end-of-semester testing before the Christmas holiday. Ac- 
cording to school board member Virginia Dellinger, who was at the 
meeting, studies indicate students score higher if tested before the holi- 
day. 

Dellinger and fellow board members Joe Miller and Betty Lawing 
met informally with parents in the tent of County Commissioner Terry 
Brotherton, whose annual bologna fry coincided with the gathering. 

The commissioner said he orchestrated the meeting because he op- 
poses the overlap of school and campmeeting. The board members said 
they were there to hear parents' concerns. 

The same situation will occur in 2001-2002 unless the county school 
calendar is changed. Miller calls this a "possibility." Any proposed change 
would have to formally come before the board. 

"Testing is an important part of school but we also have to be com- 
munity minded," Miller said. 

A committee comprised of school system administrators, principals 
and teachers designed the current calendar, and school board members 
unanimously approved it after it stood open for a 30-day public com- 
ment period. 

Miller said he will ask that parents serve on the calendar commit- 

509 



2000 



tee. 

Several members of the crowd suggested starting Christmas vaca- 
tion later, which would accommodate both testing concerns and the 
campmeeting, which has historically been held the full first week of 
August. 

Rita Lynch, a mother of six and 50-year meeting veteran, is keeping 
her fourth and seventh grade children out of school to attend the camp- 
meeting. Preaching takes place at 1 1 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

Lynch said she is waiting until next week to enroll her children at 
Pumpkin Center Middle and Rock Springs Elementary schools. She said 
they aren't being counted absent because they aren't enrolled yet. 

"This is worth standing up for. We are about to lose one of the most 
important things we've got going in Lincoln County," she said. Lynch 
said both of her children have had perfect school attendance in years 
past. 

School superintendent Dr. Martin Eaddy said Lynch's actions vio- 
late state law. He said the Lynch children won't be counted as absent but 
are probably truant. 

Absences are excused for illness of a student or severe illness of a 
family member. Absences related to a religious holiday must be part of 
the formal doctrine of the church. Eaddy said the campmeeting did not 
fall under this criteria. 

"The real question is what lessons children learn when adults choose 
which rules they will follow," Eaddy said. 

Jay Sigmon, who is not a parent but is a 40-year campmeeting vet- 
eran, helped circulate a petition at the campground calling for the school 
calendar to accommodate the campmeeting. Close to 100 signatures had 
been collected Wednesday night. Sigmon said he is not opposed to chang- 
ing the campmeeting schedule, though. "We're not above changing 
things. The meeting will die if the youth are not there." 

510 



2000 



Preacher Stands in Familiar Pulpit 

August 11 - Rev. Eddie Black has come full circle. He remembers as 
a child hearing preachers speak at the Rock Spring Campmeeting. This 
week he joined their ranks. Black was the lead preacher at this year's 
meeting, delivering a sermon every night. 

Many meeting-goers remember Black from the seven years he spent 
at Denver United Methodist Church in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 
This week he is making the I1/2 hour drive daily from his home church, 
First United Methodist of Norwood. 

He describes the sermons as similar to a revival. 

"They're somewhat evangelical. We're not reaching the lost. The 
people that come here are already Christians." 

Black has seen the emphasis on preaching decline at campmeeting 
over the last 25 years with more attention paid to socializing today. He 
remembers when sermons were preached three times a day. Now preach- 
ers speak twice daily. Other area clergy bring the 1 1 a.m message. 

On Wednesday morning, Rev. Eric Reece of the Fairfield and Leba- 
non United Methodist churches spoke to a group of approximately 30 
people about the feud between King David and Saul. Standing under a 
rough wooden cross, he told the crowd of mostly seniors citizens that 
the story is a warning of the dangers of family strife. 

"Does there always have to be winners and losers?" he asked. 

The casually dressed worshippers sang "Happy the Home" from the 
Cokesbury hymnal. They weren't the only ones singing, though; dry 
flies delivered their familiar August melody throughout the sermon. 

Rev. Ted Hendrix, a trustee who is in charge of finding ministers, 
said Black was selected because of his popularity in the community, strong 
convictions and a willingness to share with others. 

Today, most of the meeting-goers return to their homes after the 
service instead of staying in the wooden cabins called tents. Black jokes 
that today's meeting-goers are too used to air conditioning. 

511 



2000 



Shall We Gather at the River 

Hallelujah! Amen, Brother! 

Shouts punctuate the singing and preaching at the Rock Spring 
Campmeeting, held each August in the little Lincoln County town of 
Denver. Part revival, part reunion and part romance, Rock Spring has 
been the site of such festivities since 1830, when the Methodist church 
bought 40 acres there for the annual get-together. 

The custom started much earlier, however. In 1 794, during the time 
of the Great Revival Movement, a Methodist circuit rider named Daniel 
Asbury held the first campmeeting in North Carolina, near Terrell in 
Catawba County. More than 200 years later, the tradition is still alive, 
still going strong. 

Those first meetings brought together the surrounding area's fami- 
lies ("shouting Methodists" they were called) to hear a week's worth of 
preaching, to socialize with long-lost friends and relatives, and maybe 
even to court a little. In the days before mandated vacations, farming 
families enjoyed packing their covered wagons with enough food and 
clothing for a week and braving the elements to spend a "farmer's vaca- 
tion" at the camp. 

After trying several locations, the group finally settled on Rock Spring 
because of its dependable source of clear water, which still flows from a 
spring next to the campground. Using slave labor in 1831, they built 
the large structure called the arbor. It's still there, its heavy, handhewn 
beams supporting what looks like a giant picnic shelter that can seat 
1,000 people. 

Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Brotherton has been attend- 
ing the campmeeting for 54 years. "My mama loved coming to camp- 
meeting, and she brought me when I was just a baby. I've been coming 
ever since. I wouldn't miss it." His mother's funeral is one of two that 
have been held at the arbor. 



512 



2000 



Local families own the 250 or so cabins at the site, Brotherton says, 
but the land is owned by the Rock Spring Charge, a combination of 
several local Methodist churches. 

The cabins are called tents, a carry-over from the covered wagon 
days, and these structures can be difficult to describe to the uninitiated. 
With their linked walls, unpainted wood siding and tin roofs, at first 
glance they look like a strange tenement house. 

But they aren't as primitive as they once were. "They've made im- 
provements over the last 20 years," says longtime camper Alice Carpen- 
ter of Denver. Upgrades include electricity and running water, and some 
now have concrete slab floors instead of the traditional dirt floor cov- 
ered with wood shavings or hay. Each tent has a lower level that's used 
for cooking and eating, typically furnished with a table and chairs. 

Several tents have such modern conveniences as small televisions 
and microwaves. And there are indoor toilets, a welcome change from 
the "johnnies" that used to sit outside. 

Sleeping quarters are upstairs. There are no walls, but some families 
hang blankets to separate the beds, affording some privacy. Others have 
an open loft with beds aplenty. 

Three concentric rows of cabins outline the arbor, which is at the 
center of the grounds. These rows are rectangular with wide paths in 
between. Every family has a front porch, and most have a swing and 
some outdoor chairs for visitors. In the evening after supper, children 
play tag while grown-ups visit and catch up on news. Young people 
cluster together, boys ogling girls and vice versa. If a teenager finds the 
right someone, the young couple might take a stroll around the camp- 
ground, a custom as old as campmeeting itself. 

"They call it a walkway, and it's definitely part of the campmeeting 
culture," says Kevin Cherry, consultant for special collections at the state 
library in Raleigh and a longtime campmeeting attendee. 

513 



2000 



"No telling how many couples have married as a result of courting 
at campmeeting." 

"It's a family reunion, revival and county fair all rolled into one 
event," he says. "It started as a way for rural families to get together and 
hear good preaching. And courting was always a big part of it. Back then, 
people didn't even have church every Sunday. They had to wait their 
turn for the preacher to get to them. There weren't that many opportu- 
nities to meet an appropriate mate." 

Children, full of fun and frolic, often engaged in rowdy behavior. 
So rowdy that the Methodist church closed Rock Spring in the early part 
of the 20th century. "They closed it down, but the people came any- 
way," Cherry says. Rural families weren't willing to give up their "lay- 
ing-by" time, the time after planting and before harvest when farmers 
could breathe easy for a week or so. So the tradition continued. 

Another campmeeting custom, "rocking the tent," takes place late 
at night when everyone - well, nearly everyone - is asleep. Suddenly, 
loud noises bombard the tin roofs. But by the time the sleepyhead comes 
to the door, the paths are clear and not a soul is in sight. 

While fun is important, good food is a must. Starting with the Sat- 
urday night sing prior to the first Sunday church service, "Little Sun- 
day," the aroma of country ham and biscuits, sweet potato pudding, and 
fried chicken fill the campground. 

"Most families don't spend the nights here anymore because they've 
got jobs, but everybody comes for supper," Kevin Cherry explains as he 
watches his mother and aunts place a variety of food on the table in the 
McCall tent. "You'll find the staples - potato salad, pound cake, Jell-o 
salad, fresh tomatoes and corn, lots of ham." 

Nearby, Alfred W. Eudy explains why he has been attending the 
campmeeting since 1938: "The food and fellowship. It is good nourish- 
ment for the soul." With his wife of 50 years, Ann, Eudy remembers 

514 



2000 



when his grandmother rode to the meeting in a horse-drawn buggy 
and brought chickens in a coop. 

Mark Holbrooks has come to campmeeting for 41 years, part of a 
tradition that has included at least three generations of his family. His 
great-grandmother, Georgianna Howard, purchased the family tent with 
her egg money. 

The Rock Spring Campmeeting has survived several disasters, the 
first during the Civil War when Yankee soldiers took over the camp- 
ground. Then there were two fires in the 20th century. But the tents 
were reconstructed according to the tradition: unpainted wood with no 
chinking between the boards (to allow natural air conditioning) and 
the ever-present tin roofs. 

At the end of the week, after the daily church services, the camp 
ends with "Big Sunday," the last service and the one drawing the most 
people. "Family members from all over the country try to make it for Big 
Sunday," says Kevin Cherry. "They want to hear the bell and watch as 
people cross the grass to the arbor. That's my favorite time. I love to 
watch everyone come out from the tents and all these families come 
together for church." 

Until the end of the Civil War, slave owners took their slaves with 
them to campmeeting. After the war, black folks started their own 
campmeeting nearby at Tucker's Grove. It's held about two weeks after 
Rock Spring. Other campmeetings are still active, though none as large 
as Rock Spring. 

There aren't many left elsewhere. In a move to revive the tradition 
in Reidsville, the Rev. Bill McKinney of Reidsville began a modern camp- 
meeting inside the Christian Fellowship Church. This year, campmeet- 
ing 2000 was moved to a permanent shelter built next to the church. In 
High Point, the John Wesley Camp holds a two-week meeting. 

Rock Spring is the only one that has been in continuous operation 

515 



2000 



since its beginnings. The site was supposed to be closed in 1948 be- 
cause of the polio epidemic, but some people came anyway. 

The most unexpected aspect of the campmeeting is the enthusiasm 
you see among young people there. But a snippet of conversation over- 
heard between an older woman and a girl of about 14 might help ex- 
plain it. The voice of experience was telling the teenager, "If you don't 
come to campmeeting with a boyfriend, you'll have one by the time 
you leave." 

Anne Barnhill, Our State 
December 2000 

Anne Barnhill is a freelance writer in Kernersville. 



516 



2000 



A Strange Feeling of Coming Home 

My grandparents, Ernest Ballard and Gwendolyn McCaul, met at 
the Rock Spring Campmeeting in 1915. They weren't married until five 
years later because my grandfather served in the Army during World 
War I and he didn't want to leave his sweetheart a widow. They were 
together for 70 years. 

I remember visiting them in the summer, when all the talk was about 
the upcoming campmeeting. 

"What should I take?" my grandmother would ask, worrying over 
the subject of what to cook as though it were the most important deci- 
sion of the year. My grandparents never spent the night at the camp- 
meetings, but they did visit on Big Sunday and Little Sunday. I went 
with them once when I was very young and have no real memory of the 
event other than going into a dark structure and being bored silly while 
my grandparents talked. I remember being assuaged with goodies, a dif- 
ferent delicacy offered at each place we went. Food always made an im- 
pact on me. 

"I've got some mighty fine tomatoes. We could slice a few of those, 
and I'll make a pound cake," grandfather would reply, his voice easy and 
confident. His tomatoes were the joy of his garden and he was famous 
in Lincolnton ( a few miles from Denver) for his cold-oven pound cakes. 

Somehow my grandparents would select just the right food, and 
my grandmother would find the perfect dress to wear to the service. 
Although my mother never had much interest in campmeeting, she re- 
members being dragged there every summer when she and her two sis- 
ters would also be bored because they weren't "from the country" and 
had no friends there, though they had plenty of cousins. Of course, they 
had to be dressed "just so" and had to conduct themselves like "ladies," 
my grandmother's favorite admonition to young girls. 

I found a picture of my grandmother on the wall of Terry Brotherton's 
cabin, along with many photographs of campmeetings over the years. 

517 



2000 



Her gray hair is done up smartly in a French twist, and she's wearing 
those stylish cat-eye glasses with silver rims that curl up at the ends. Her 
dress is freshly pressed and though the weather must have been hot, my 
grandmother looks cool and happy. She's in the middle of a conversa- 
tion with a small group of women and she's by far the loveliest. When I 
saw her there, I suddenly missed her, the way we do even though it's 
been a long, long time since our loved one has died. That pang, just so, 
made me fall a little in love with campmeeting, knowing how impor- 
tant it had been to her. 

When I first arrived at Rock Spring, I was amazed at the construc- 
tion of the place. The cabins were charming and old-looking, unlike 
anything I'd ever seen. People were everywhere, talking and laughing. 
All ages appeared - mothers and fathers, grandparents, teenagers and 
children - and the energy was palpable. I heard no cross words, though 
I'm sure there must have been some during the week. 

Instead, I got a sense of family. Not the nuclear family most of us are 
used to. No, this was a sense of the larger family - cousins, aunts, uncles 
- enjoying each other's company, all sharing traits and talents. 

I was surprised to meet cousins of my own, especially Kevin Cherry, 
who informed me that he and I are fourth cousins. He knew all about 
the family tree and could tell me the name of our shared ancestor. I, too, 
am interested in genealogy, though I've chosen a different branch on 
which to focus. He loves history and so do I. His grandmother, Ann 
McCall, remembered my grandmother and explained that the spelling 
of the last name had changed over the years. 

In the strangest way, as my husband and I went on a "walk-around," 
I felt that I had somehow come home, even though I had no idea I had 
been away. 

Anne C. Bamhill 
Our State 

518 



2000 



School Board to Take Up Campmeeting 

Issue 

September 6 - Rock Spring Campmeeting is over for the year, but a 
controversy surrounding the 206-year-old religious tradition and the 
first day of school is not. 

Tonight, at the Lincoln County School Board meeting, members of 
the community will ask the board to delay the opening of school next 
year so there's no school during campmeeting. 

Rita Lynch, an advocate of the calendar change, is planning to at- 
tend the board meeting. She did not enroll her children in school until 
after campmeeting finished this year because she felt the children would 
not have enough sleep to go to school. 

"I knew if they were at campmeeting until 12 a.m. or 1 a.m., then 
how good would they do at school?" she said. 

For the first time ever, school started exactly when campmeeting 
started this year. 

According to school calendars from the past five years, there has 
never been a conflict before. Last year came the closest, when school 
started on a Thursday, halfway through campmeeting. 

Lynch said she can remember just a few years ago when school started 
around the middle of August, but added each year it gets earlier. 

"This year school started on the seventh, next year it starts on the 
sixth. It's just getting earlier and earlier." 

Though Lynch says she's been told that the school board has de- 
cided to start school earlier to accommodate testing requirements, she 
believes there's a better way it can be done. 

"We're saying what about changing some of the mandatory teacher 
annual leave days, put winter break in January - it can be done," she 
said. "We can have campmeeting without interfering with the testing 
requirements." 

Each year after the school board develops the school calendar, it 

519 



2000 



announces that it will take public comments for 30 days. During that 
period, the public is invited to make comments and requests about the 
calendar for the board to consider. 

This year, the board did not receive any feedback, but Lynch said 
the conflict wasn't well known. She said it's a classic case of "not in my 
backyard." 

"I didn't understand it," said Lynch. "You don't know about things 
until you have a problem." She said she didn't feel she was the only one 
that wasn't aware that the pubic could appear before the board. 

"Everyone I talked to didn't know either," she said. "I don't think it 
was advertised to the point that everybody knew it." 

One option that has been suggested that would rectify the conflict 
is not truly an option, said Lynch. She said she has been asked whether 
Rock Spring Campmeeting could move its campmeeting to a week ear- 
lier. 

"It can't be done. This is a 206-year tradition. People all across the 
country know that campmeeting is always the first full week of August," 
she said. "People that have tents near me come horn Winston-Salem, 
Georgia and Virginia. If Lincoln County can't be a good host, then camp- 
meeting is going to die." 



520 



TENT OWNERS 2000 



1 . Rock Spring Campground 

2. Rolland M. Thompson, Jr. 

3. Joe F. King 
Denver, N.C. 

4. L. Neal Smith & Lee Ann Caldwell 
Davidson, N.C. 

5. Katie G.Mundy 
Denver, N.C. 

6. Bill & Joyce Ballard 
Denver, N.C. 

7. L.O. & Ruth Mundy 
Mt. Holly, N.C. 

8. Mrs. W.VV. Thompson 
Mooresville, N.C. 

9. Phillip & Wilma Corriher 
China Grove, N.C. 

10. Donald Grier Jenkins 
lake Wylie, S.C. 

11. W.L. Sigmon, [r. 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

1 la. Mr. & Mrs. G.B. Sigmon 

and Ken, Kenny, G.B. Sigmon 
Julia Gibson 
Denver, N.C. 

12. R.W. Little and 

Mr. & Mrs. Steve Little 
Cherryville, N.C. 

13. B.S. Sherrill 
Huntersville, N.C. 

14. Barry & Wanda Luckey 
Denver, N.C. 

15. A.W. Eudy and CD. Morris 
Denver, N.C. 

16. Gary W. Holbrooks 
and Mark S. Holbrooks 
Denver, N.C. 

17. Larry Hooper 
Denver, N.C. 

18. Mrs. Callie Little 
Denver, N.C. 

19. Karen & James Ray 
Mooresville, N.C. 

20. J.V. Rhyne 
Gastonia, N.C. 

21. Murrey St Martha Sherrill 
Denver, N.C. 

22. Frances Brotherton 
Mooresville, N.C. 



23. F.G. McCall 
Denver, N.C. 

24. Dwight Callaway- 
Denver, N.C. 

25. Bill Mull 
Denver, N.C. 

26. Richard Sigmon 
Denver, N.C. 

27. Steve Cherry- 
Denver, N.C. 

28. Geneva Dellinger and 
Jimmy & Jewel Crow- 
Stanley, N.C. 

29. MaryW. Atwell 
Cornelius, N.C. 

30. Marvin Ken Brotherton 
Davidson, N.C. 

31. Ford E. Mayhew 
Mooresville, N.C. 

32. Ira I. Hobb 
Terrell, N.C. 

33. Buddy & Merle Robbins 
Cornelius, N.C. 

34. T.L. Brotherton, Jr. 
Cornelius, N.C. 

35. Kyra Thomas, Kim Allen, 
Karen Rav and Sammy Moore 
Fletcher, N.C. 

36. George & Mary McAlister 
Cornelius, N.C. 

37. Kirby D. & Mary C. Dellinger, Jr. 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

38. Emma Sherrill and J.B. Sherrill 
Belmont, N.C. 

39. Mrs. M.H. Brotherton 
Alexis, N.C. 

40. Joyce D. Howard and 
Gary M. Duckworth 
Stanley, N.C. 

41. Maureen Young 
Denver, N.C. 

42. Monroe Howard 
Denver, N.C. 

43. Carolyn Howard and Lynda Starnes 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

44. Henry Barkley and 
Jerry Barkley 
Denver, N.C. 



521 



45. Rosa L. Beatty 
Denver, N.C. 

46. Charles Henley, Linda Helton 
Giles, Gerald 

Denver, N.C. 

47. Joyce Swanzey and Larry Ballard 
Troutman, N.C. 

48. Larry Ballard and Glen Ballard 
Troutman, N.C. 

49. Ora Beatty 
Greensboro, N.C. 

50. Stephen & Marsha Cole 
Asheville, N.C. 

51. Joann Sigmon Charles 
Mooresville, N.C. 

52. Annie Lee Sigmon Carter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

53. Bill & Nancy Saunders 
Denver, N.C. 

54. DarielG. Black 
Denver, N.C. 

55. W.E. Buff 
Maiden, N.C. 

56. Paul H. Reynolds 
Charlotte, N.C. 

57. Bryant D. & Viney Jones 
Denver, N.C. 

58. Preachers' Tent 

59. Lynn W. Jetton 
Stanley, N.C. 

60. Richard F. Armstrong 
Denver, N.C. 

61. G.W. & Bonnie Michael 
Iron Station, N.C. 

62. Hugh Michael and 
Kenneth E. Michael 
Iron Station, N.C. 

63. Annie Houser Nelson 
Huntersville, N.C. 

64. Randy & Elizabeth Robinson 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

65. LeeB. Killian 
Denver, N.C. 

66. L.C. Dellingerand 
Ruth Dellinger 
Stanley, N.C. 

67. Sidney & Martha Jones 
Stanley, N.C. 



68. T.L. Dellinger 
Denver, N.C. 

69. J.W.Henkel 
Denver, N.C. 

70. Gerald & Deanice Shifflett 
Stanley, N.C. 

71. Howard Shannon 
Denver, N.C. 

72. Ronald & Rita Reel 
Iron Station, N.C. 

73. Newton Smith and 
Betty S. Gabriel 
Davidson, N.C. 

74. Bobby K. Howard 
Denver, N.C. 

75. Elsie C. Harrill 
Newton, N.C. 

76. Laura Gilleland 
Iron Station, N.C. 

77. Laura Asbury Norwood 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

78. Doris Dellinger Keever and 
Cecil M. Dellinger 
Denver, N.C. 

79. Marion G. Cherry 
Denver, N.C. 

80. James C. Sifford 
Winston-Salem, N.C. 

81. James L. Barker 
Denver, N.C. 

82. Brenda Brantley 
Dalton, Ga 

83. Zetta Thompson 
Denver, N.C. 

84. Ralph & Janet K.Sherrill 
Iron Station, N.C. 

85. Mr. & Mrs. Richard Kaufman 
Iron Station, N.C. 

86. D.W. Barkley 
Gastonia, N.C. 

87. Virginia A. Edwards and 
Lyle Edwards 
Gastonia, N.C. 

88. D.B. Dellinger 
Stanley, N.C. 

89. Katie, Joyce, Chris, William and 
David Brown 

Florence, S.C. 



522 



90. Kathleen Goodson 
Iron Station, N.C. 

91. Mrs. Nell Mundy Wade 
Kannapolis, N.C. 

92. Don Cherry and 
James R. Cherry 
Denver, N.C. 

93. Murphy A. Cronland, M.D. 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

94. Billie Mae Sorter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

95. Wilma P. Howard 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

96. Eugene Dellinger 
Denver, N.C. 

97. Mildred Little 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

98. Nell Aiken and 
Donald B. & Susan 
Mt. Holly, N.C. 

99. John C. Barker 
Denver, N.C. 

100. Betty L. Howard 
Denver, N.C. 

101. Jessie C.Nixon 

103. M.L. Little 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

104. S.D.Howard, Jr. 
Denver, N.C. 

105. Kay S. Bates 
Denver, N.C. 

106. Jackie & Ronnie Lineberger 
Denver, N.C. 

107. S.M. Brotherton 
Denver, N.C. 

108. Gary & Starr McCorkle, Sr. 
Denver, N.C. 

109. Gene Ross 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

110. Nellie Harkey 
Denver, N.C. 

110a Tony Sherrill 
Denver, N.C. 

111. Jim & Susan Sherrill 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

112. Betty Davis and 
Mrs. Seab Howard 
Mount Mourne, N.C. 



113. Coy & Opal Burgin 
Alexis, N.C. 

114. Lou .Ann Thomas and 
Shirley Saunders 
Iron Station, N.C. 

1 15. Hazeleen A. Richards 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

116. Carl E. Robinson and 
Carl E. Robinson, Jr. 
Denver, N.C. 

117. J. A. Mundy and Mary S. Mundy 
Denver, N.C. 

118. John C. Edwards 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

119. Beatrice D. Howard 
Cornelius, N.C. 

120. Janice S. Stutts and Ann R. Howard 
Terrell, N.C. 

121. Helen H. Robinson 
Denver, N.C. 

122. Robert Jeff rev Howard 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

123. Donald A. Arndt 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

124. William L. Edwards 
Catawba, N.C. 

125. Ernest Newton and Dorothy Milburn 
Denver, N.C. 

126. Janie P. Seitz 
Catawba, N.C. 

127. J.C. Little 
Mooresville, N.C. 

128. Clay B. & Jovce Stutts 
Terrell, N.C.' 

129. Ann B. Howard 
Denver, N.C. 

130. Z.D. Brotherton 
Greensboro, N.C. 

131. Harry & Pinkie Taylor 
Denver, N.C. 

132. Tony R. & Melanie Jones 
Denver, N.C. 

133. Mrs. Robert Cline 
Denver, N.C. 

134. Jeanette P. Cornelius 
Terrell, N.C. 

135. Rachel M. Hucks 
Huntersville, N.C. 



523 



136. Yates K. Wilkinson 
Denver, N.C. 

137. Bobby Harris 
Maiden, N.C. 

138. Peggy Lutz 
Terrell, N.C. 

139. Willis & Dorothy Gregory 
Davidson, N.C. 

140. James E. Cherry 
Denver, N.C. 

141. Forrest & Joette Ross 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

142. Dean & Sheila Dellinger 
Stanley, N.C. 

143. Mike & Linda S. Bost 
Denver, N.C. 

144. Rita Hicks Parker 
Terrell, N.C. 

145. M.L. Lineberger 

146. Billy C.Holdsclaw 
Terrell, N.C. 

147. J.W.Nixon 
Denver, N.C. 

148. Frank Cherry, Jr. 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

149. John Sigmon 
Denver, N.C. 

150. Craig & Bed Barker, 
Charles & Barbara Rainwater, 
Richard & Pam Sanders 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

151. Ann S. Heavner 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

152. Henry M.Sherrill 
Stanley, N.C. 

153. Joan Avery, Evelyn Wise and 
Jean Schronce 
Lincolnton & Vale, N.C. 

154. Claude & Diane Keeney 
Denver, N.C. 

155. Ronald O. Gilleland, 
Andrew C. Gilleland and 
D. Coleman Gilleland 
Maiden, N.C. 

156. Bynum Caldwell 
Denver, N.C. 

157. Ivey G. Proctor 
Denver, N.C. 



158. Mr. & Mrs. Donald Caldwell 
Maiden, N.C. 

159. Hazeleen A. Richards 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

160. Preston Bea 
Denver, N.C. 

161. George R. and Peggy Hoyle 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

162. George W. Hoyle 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

163. John Blythe and Helen Blythe 
Abbeville, S.C. and Huntersville, N.C. 

164. Charlie M. Killian 
Mt. Holly, N.C. 

1 65. Patrice Chaff in Dellinger, 
Terra Annette Dellinger, 
Joseph Linden Dellinger & family 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

166. Rita Lynch 
Denver, N.C. 

167. Jerry L. Hick 
Maiden, N.C. 

168. Mr. & Mrs. Boyd Dellinger 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

169. Jerry Dellinger 
Maiden, N.C. 

170. Charles M.Michael 
Shelby, N.C. 

171. Emmett Michael 

172. Libby All & David G. Stroupe 
Stanley, N.C. 

173. Rachel Richard 
Denver, N.C. 

174. R.M.Nixon 
Stanley, N.C. 

175. Jerald P. Sigmon 
Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

176. Nancy L. Barnette 
Denver, N.C. 

177. Jerry T. Washam 
Denver, N.C. 

178. Carol Setzer and 
Carolyn Mundy 
Claremont, N.C. 

179. Mrs. Georgia Stephens 
Denver, N.C. 

180. Catherine M. Long 
Denver, N.C. 



524 



181. R.C. Hager and David Hager 202. 
Denver, N.C. 

182. John McClean Duckworth 

Stanley, N.C. 203. 

183. Mrs. Mildred Morrison 

Stanley, N.C. 204. 

184. Mr. & Mrs. John Howie 

Stanley, N.C. 205. 

185. Dallas V. & Scott Barker 

Charlotte, N.C. 206. 

186. Beverly A. Dellinger 

Charlotte, N.C. 207. 

187. Mr. & Mrs. Terry Barker 

Denver, N.C. 208. 

188. Mary B. Barker 

Denver, N.C. 209. 

189. Mrs. John H. Goodson 

and Joy Stiles 210. 

Iron Station, N.C. 

190. Patty Nantz 211. 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

191. Bill Link 212. 
Iron Station, N.C. 

192. W.G.Mcintosh, Ellis & Linda 

Denver, N.C. 213. 

193. K. Dean Black, Randy Black 

and Sherry B. Salter ' 214. 

Denver, N.C. 

194. Clifton G. Jone 215. 
Stanley, N.C. 

195. Francis Riser, Faye Cavin & Emilv May 216. 
Stanley, N.C. 

196. John E. Hunsucker 

Greensboro, N.C. 217. 

197. Benny Barker 
Denver, N.C. 

198. John R.Cherry and 218. 
Kenneth E. Cherry 

Charlotte, N.C. 
198a Fred & Wanda Reynolds 219. 

Denver, N.C. 

199. Mrs. Harold Cherrv 

Denver, N.C. 220. 

200. Peggy N.Wilkinson and 

Billy Nantz 221. 

Iron Station, N.C. 

201. Barbara B. Smith and Linda & Craig Ball 222. 
Iron Station, N.C. 



Albert F. Hagler and 

Civilin H. Killian 

Stanley, N.C. 

John lye Sherrill 

Cornelius, N.C. 

J.E. Black and Margaret B. Todd 

Charlotte, N.C. 

Mrs. Lois Bean 

Denver, N.C. 

Herman & Dorothy Schronce 

Maiden, N.C. 

Kermit & Diane Goodson 

Maiden, N.C. 

Charles & Mable Richardson 

Iron Station, N.C. 

Rudy k Prissy Sherrill 

Denver, N.C. 

William C. Eaker 

Lincolnton, N.C. 

E.L. McConnell 

Lincolnton, N.C. 

Cindy is Robin Dellinger 

and Tony & Amy Klubert 

Stanley, N.C. 

Jim & Sandy Pratt 

Sherrills Ford, N.C. 

Harold Harwell 

Denver, N.C. 

Roy L. & Mary Abernathy 

Denver, N.C. 

Frances L. Cloninger and 

Louise Mo Anne Little 

Denver, N.C. 

Penny Quick, Candy Howard and 

Pam Livingston 

Charlotte, N.C. 

Arthur Mac Abernathy and 

Geneva Langford 

Pisgah Forest, N.C 

Mary Watson and 

Ella A. Gardner 

Matthews, N.C. 

Michelle Newman 

Stanley, N.C. 

Avis Edward 

Salisbury, N.C. 

Mary Watson, Susan Alexander Jo 

Matthews, N.C. 



525 



224. Barbara Bennett, Mrs. James Bennett 
Charlotte, N.C. 

225. Bobby W.Hobbs 
Terrell, N.C. 

226. Forest &Joette Ross 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

227. Pauline Reynolds 
Maiden, N.C. 

228. Lamar Ward, Jr. 
Iron Station, N.C. 

229. Ruth Dellinger and Robin Dellinger 
Stanley, N.C. 

230. Russell Dellinger 
Stanley, N.C. 

231. Janet M. Brotherton 
Denver, N.C. 

232. Vergie Mundy and Navada Mundy 
Denver, N.C. 

233. Mrs. Navada H. Mundy 
Denver, N.C. 

234. Ralph Carpenter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

235. Ralph Carpenter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

236. Ralph Carpenter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

237. Shirley Ross 
Denver, N.C. 

238. Claude Carpenter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

239. Ralph Carpenter 
Lincolnton, N.C. 

240. Bobby Lineberger 
Mooresville, N.C. 

241. Lawrence & Joey Goodson 
Maiden, N.C. 

242. Ida Belle Schronce 
Maiden, N.C. 

243. Carrol Goodson 
Denver, N.C. 

244. Leisa & Robin Hoover 
Denver, N.C. 

245. Donnie R. Harris 
Maiden, N.C. 



248. Allan B. Caldwell 

Charlotte, N.C. 

David & Debra Stallings 

Newton, N.C. 

John & Lavada Sigmon 

Newton, N.C. 
250a Stephen & Sharon Whisnant 

Denver, N.C. 

Robert & Gill Overcash 

Mooresville, N.C. 

John & Linda Robertson 

Mooresville, N.C. 

Charles H. & Martha Jo Dellinger 

Ben D. Nixon 

Denver, N.C. 

James M. Moore and Kat Moore 

Lincolnton, N.C. 



249. 



250. 



251. 

252. 

253. 
254. 

255. 



246. 



247. 



Paul R. Greene, 
Maiden, N.C. 
Kevin Long 
Denver, N.C. 



Sr. 



526 



ROCK SPRING CAMPGROUND 

P.O. BOX 204 

DENVER, NORTH CAROLINA 28037 

August 5 -12, 2001 

Yes il is that time once again. We hope everyone has had a good year and looking 
forward to a great time at Campmceting. 

This year we are going to have the youth services during the little week beginning July 
30 '. This will allow our youth to be a part of the services and not interfere with them 
just starting back to school. 

The trustees want every tent on the grounds to be used this year. If you are a tent owner 
and arc unable to attend, please let one of the trustees know. There are a lot of people 
who would like to rent a tent. Please let us help. 

The preacher for Campmeeting this year is Mr. Terry Duckworth, an evangelist with the 
Western North Carolina Conference. Worship service will begin at 8:00 p.m. 

Don't forget that Little Singing is Friday, August 3. with the local groups of our 
community. Big Singing is Saturday night, August 5, with the Chuck Wagon Gang. 
Singing begins at 7:00 p.m. both nights. 

Tent Tax and Utilities is S85.00. Please return in the enclosed envelope. 



Thank You, 
The Trustees 



(Chairman) Jerry Dellinger 483-5272 
Clyde Armstrong 483-2883 
Van Barker 483-2710 
Bynum Caldwell 483-4000 
Tripp Callaway 483-1419 



Greg Edwards 483-2073 
TedHcndnx 483-9823 
Gary Holbrooks 483-1542 
Jay Sigmon 735-0425 
Johnny Sigmon 483-9327 



Please take the time to thank Jem,' Sigmon for all the hard work and years of service as 
Rock Springs Campground Trustees. Also, please welcome our newest trustee. Jay 
Sigmon. Thank You. 



527 



2001 

Former Trustee Passes 

February 10 - Mr. B.S. Sherrill, Jr., 77, of Huntersville, died Satur- 
day, February 10, 2001, at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. He 
was born November 8, 1923, in Iredell County to the late B.S. Sherrill, 
Sr., and Anne Brevad Neil Sherrill. Mr. Sherrill was a member of Mount 
Zion United Methodist Church, attended Cornelius High School, a U.S. 
Army veteran of WWII and a retired farmer. He served for many years on 
the board of Rock Spring Campground trustees, where he maintained 
the water and electrical systems, as well as being treasurer after the death 
of his father. 




B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 



2001 



Lincoln County Schools Won't Change 

February 14 - Lincoln County students will start the next school 
year on time, despite a push to postpone the starting date because it 
conflicted with a centuries-old revival camp. 

School officials said a delay would disrupt instruction, jeopardize a 
state-mandated testing schedule and limit available times for teacher 
training. Tuesday night, the school board unanimously approved keep- 
ing the previously adopted school calendar, which begins August 6. 

In the fall, the school board appointed a committee to revisit the 
school's calendar after dozens of parents pleaded to delay the start of 
the school year so it wouldn't clash with the Rock Spring camp. 

The camp, which draws thousands of kids and adults for religious 
services every summer in east Lincoln County, is scheduled August 5- 
12. Leaders said they wouldn't consider changing the camp's schedule 
because of its strong tradition. 

Lincoln schools superintendent Marty Eaddy said school officials 
questioned whether the community events should drive the school cal- 
endar. And if they did, which ones would be allowed to? 

"If we meet the request of one group," Eaddy said, "what do we do 
about other groups with similar requests?" He said instructional needs 
have to come first. 

Eaddy said changes would have been considered if the committee 
could have found a way to keep testing dates before the winter holi- 
days. High school students must take their end-of-course tests at the 
end of the fall semester, when some courses end. And the state requires 
90 school days before tests can be given. 

"The committee felt strongly that it was no help to students to move 
the test dates to after Christmas," Eaddy said. 

In October, Rock Spring spokesman Gordon Drum presented a peti- 
tion with more than 500 signatures to the school board. No one from 
the group spoke at the school board meeting Tuesday. Group leaders 

529 



2001 



estimate 1,500 students attend the gathering annually. There are 10,600 
students in the district. 



New Calendar Accommodates 
Campmeeting 

March 19 - Students at Lincoln Charter School can attend the an- 
nual Rock Spring Campmeeting in August if they like. 

Last week, board members approved the 2001-02 school calendar 
which accommodates the 206-year-old Rock Spring Campmeeting tra- 
dition. School will start the following week on August 13. 

A contentious issue for the Lincoln public school district, over 100 
campmeeting supporters attended its September board meeting asking 
members to delay the start of school so students could participate in the 
religious event. 

Campmeeting was held the same week school began and youth at- 
tendance had dropped severely, said Gordon Drum, who spoke to the 
board. 

The Lincoln school district did not change the start of school, say- 
ing it would not allow them enough time to prepare for end-of-semester 
tests. 

Not an issue for the charter school, board members said they were 
able to find adequate time to support their curriculum. 

Board president Dave Machado said they could design an effective 
calendar by rearranging some days, compared to their last year's calen- 
dar. 

"We knew that if we could work it into our schedule and still have 
quality instructional time, then why not?" said board member Susan 

530 



2001 



Horvat. 

"Summer is sacred," said Hovat. "I didn't want to see teachers here 
(at the school) in July. Many parents complained about former schools 
starting too early," she said. 



531 



2001 



Vandals Damage Tents and Arbor 

Sometime during April 15 and April 21, vandalism of at least 12 
tents and the arbor occurred at Rock Spring Campground. 

Light fixtures, ceiling fans, bulbs and speaker wires under the arbor 
received damages. Tent doors were battered or knocked down. 

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department investigated but were 
unable to find any leads. 



Campmeeting Schedule 



Friday, August 3 the campmeeting will start with singing from local 
groups. 

Saturday, August 4 the camp will welcome The Chuck Wagon Gang, 
a celebrated entertainment group with a lot of history. 

Rev. Terry Duckworth will be the speaker for all the evening services 
through August 11. 

Rev. Hendrix will close campmeeting with a message on August 1 3, 
which will end campmeeting. 

"I want to invite everyone to attend, especially those who haven't 
attended campmeeting before," Hendrix said. 

The schedule for services is as follows: 

Sunday morning at 1 1 a.m. 

Evening services at 8 p.m. 

Children's programs begin at 6:30 each evening. 

Youth services will begin on July 30 and continue through August 
2. These services will be held at 7:30 each evening. All youth in the area 
are invited to attend. 

Morning services are held at 1 1 a.m. Monday through Friday. These 
services are conducted by local ministers. 

532 



2001 



World Famous Chuck Wagon Gang In 

Concert 

August 5 - With his wife and three of his 10 children, cotton-picker 
D.P. "Dad" Carter set his sights on gospel music during the early Depres- 
sion. Since then, the Chuck Wagon Gang of Fort Worth, Texas, has trav- 
eled the country spreading a Christian message through music. Tonight 
at 7 p.m. the group will perform at Rock Spring Campground. 

The group's professional career started in 1935 when Carter went to 
radio station KFYO in Lubbock, Texas, and asked for a singing job. The 
group was hired to sing a 15-minute program daily at $12.50 a week, 
which was more than Carter was earning picking cotton. 

From that humble beginning the Chuck Wagon Gang went on to 
become the most recognized name ever in country gospel music, with 
record sales exceeding 60 million copies. 

Ruth Ellen Carter Yates, the youngest of the children, joined the 
Chuck Wagon Gang in 1941. She will come out of retirement to rejoin 
the group for the Rock Spring concert. 

"The first memory I have of our singing is of sister Rose," said Yates. 
"This is just a trickle in memory. I really was little. We lived on a farm. It 
was Rose's daily chore to go get milk. She had to cross a pasture that 
contained a bull. I can remember Rose singing and yodeling as she came 
home through that field carrying the milk. She sang at the top of her 
voice, thinking her singing would help keep the bull away." Rose sang 
with the group from 1935 to 1975. 

Asked to compare the original group with succeeding editions of 
the Chuck Wagon Gang, Yates doesn't see much difference. 

"If we could hear the original group sing today, I imagine the sound 
would be a familiar one," she said. "Mama's voice was like mine. Their 
sound was similar to that of today's Chuck Wagon Gang. That has al- 
ways been our goal, to keep that same pure simple harmony that my 

533 



2001 



family originated many years ago." 

Bob Terrell, a 40-year veteran writer for the Asheville Citizen Times, 
published a book in 1990, "A Legend Lives On." He concludes that the 
group's sound has never been duplicated in American music. 




The Chuck Wagon Gang 



534 



2001 



Richard Sang Bass 



August 5 - Richard Sigmon of Will Proctor Street in Denver has 
been a regular at campmeeting his entire life. Throughout his years he 
has been a member of 
several local quartets, as 
well as a faithful church 
choir member. 

The Chuck Wagon 
Gang had always been 
his favorite group. He 
had a desire to sing bass 
on just one song with 
the famous group. That 
dream was made real to- 
night when the gang, 
after hearing of his de- 
sire, invited him 
onstage to sing with 
them. 

It didn't take him 
long to decide what the 
song would be when 
asked to make a selec- 
tion. "A Beautiful Life" 
was his choice. Follow- 
ing the song, Sigmon 
received a standing ova- 
tion from the thou- 
sands gathered around 
the arbor. 




535 



2001 



Old-Time Religion Revived, Old Ties 
Renewed 

August 10 - Stifling heat chased most folks inside at the Rock Spring 
Campmeeting this week. 

But 95-degree temperatures didn't wilt their enthusiasm for the 207- 
year-old United Methodist gathering - one of the oldest in North Caro- 
lina. 

Campers found a cool corner in unpainted wood frame huts called 
tents, visited old friends over tomato sandwiches and country ham bis- 
cuits, and looked forward to the evening's outdoor worship. 

"It's relaxing," said Mary Watson, 67, of Monroe as she sipped iced 
tea in front of a fan. "I'm ready to hear some good preaching tonight." 

Watson and her twin sister, Ella Gardner of Pageland, SC, have been 
campground regulars since childhood. Watson was determined not to 
miss this year despite a recent operation for breast cancer and treatments 
she faces next week. 

She and her sister settled into a routine of taking it easy in their 
tents and going to nightly gospel sings and preaching. 

When it comes to fun, Watson ranks Rock Spring right up there 
with Myrtle Beach, where she has a more conventional vacation home. 
As this week's revival wound down, she looked ahead to next summer's 
gathering. "I'll keep coming back 'til Gabriel blows his horn," Watson 
said. 



536 



2001 



The following appeared in the Lincoln Times-News as a letter to 
the editor: 

Tradition Missing at Campmeeting 

On Saturday evening, the beginning of Rock Spring Campmeeting, 
it was a natural thing for us to attend and enjoy the singing. I have 
never missed campmeeting except for the WWII years and the year po- 
lio was so bad. This tells you that I go a long way back. 

But this year as I attended worship at the arbor, I noticed so many 
changes that have taken place through the years. Many worshippers 
take their chairs and sit out around the arbor, and I was one of those - 
the chairs are more comfortable and also cooler. As a young boy grow- 
ing up, everyone sat under the arbor. The people of east Lincoln county 
should realize what a great tradition our forefathers have passed on to 
us. 

But this year I noticed some changes in the service that deviated 
from the past tradition. The great piano playing and those great old 
campmeeting songs, those wonderful voices, the sound carrying through 
the grounds. It was missing this year for the most part, due to the for- 
mat of the service. It was a great service, but tradition was missing. I 
would certainly hope those individuals in charge of programming would 
return to the old tradition next year. 

I was taught the arbor is holy ground and should receive the same 
respect I would give to my own church. Not so; those lighted tubes are 
very annoying when children are twirling and playing with them while 
any kind of program or worship service is being presented at the arbor. I 
would hope the trustees will consider this to be undesirable. 

Campmeeting has been going on over 200 years. Let's keep the tra- 
dition going: meeting old friends, having a good time and great fellow- 
ship. 

Keith Hager 
Lowesville 



537 




fane Spidel fans herself as she listens 




Jessica McClain, 7, is 

creating her own breeze 

by swinging near her 

grandmother's tent 



538 




Rodney Bordeauh gets his tent ready 




What is thought to be the largest crowd Rock Spring ever assembled Saturday, August 5 for 
a gospel concert. With Tony Gore and the Chuck Wagon Gang headlining the event, it's 

easy to understand the large crowd. 



539 




Susan Starnes and sister Teresa Stames catch the spirit 




Tony Gore (left) sings 



540 




Jim Wilkinson mows the grass around his family's tent 



541 




Rita Lynch, a veteran campmeeting attendee, uses modern technology to clean her old 
fashioned tent, readying it for this year's campmeeting 




Ten-year-old 
Laney Oaks and 
Lindy Merck, 9, 
enjoy ice cream 



542 



2001 



Former Trustee Passes 



December 18 - William "Bill" Caleb Ballard, 76, of 3375 Highway 
16 North, died today. A funeral service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thurs- 
day at Denver United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Den- 
ver Community Cemetery. The family will receive friends tonight from 
6 until 8 at the church. 

Born in Mecklenburg County, he was a WWII U.S. Army veteran 
and worked with Howard Construction Company for 40 years until re- 
tirement. 

Mr. Ballard served for many years as a trustee of Rock Spring Camp- 
ground. He can be credited with having a vision for future needs of the 
campground, as it was at his urg- 
ing many improvements over the 
past 20 years were accomplished. 

Perhaps he should be remem- 
bered most at Rock Spring for his 
dedication to preservation of the 
historic arbor. 




Bill Ballard 



543 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 2001 
01/01/01 - 12/31/01 



BEGINNING BALANCE: 



$4,999.64 



INCOME: 

Interest Income 

Loans 

Offering 

Tent Tax and Utilities 

Shack Rent 
TOTAL INCOME: 



24.15 

9000.00 

12622.85 

18325.00 

2500.00 

42,472.00 



EXPENSES: 

Bank Service Charge 1 50.34 

Lincoln County Tax Dept. 69.00 

Repayment of Loan 4058.04 

Flowers 193.01 

Jim Price Fence 2000.00 

Mark Holbrooks Law Service 3765.40 

David McGinnis Painting - shack & bathrooms 2350.00 

Johnson Piano - electric piano 4819.82 

Harper Agency - deposit for 2002 singers 375 .00 

Repair wiring & set up sound system 413.76 

Metrolina Plumbing - restrooms 676.00 

Westport Tree Service - stump grinding 200.00 

Howard's Backhoe Service - expand/repair parking 5 150.00 

Dellinger Exterminating 200.00 

Denver Plumbing - repair water lines 5200.00 

Brandon Lineberger - cleaning restrooms 550.00 

SCS 1177.60 

Dwight Callaway Construction 225.00 

Miscellaneous supplies 343.71 

Envelopes & postage for letter/PO Box fee 261.90 

Awards Express - plaques for retiring trustees 26.63 

Mary Watson - rent tent for Sheriff's Dept. 300.00 

Security - Sheriff's Dept. 1 80.00 

Trustee Meetings 420.28 

Rev. Ted Hendrix 650.00 

Rev. Terry Duckworth (650.00 plus expenses) 1084.00 

Morning services (Ingrim, Tobias, Richardson, Pyatt) 200.00 

Amy Edwards - music ministry 300.00 

Chad Mcintosh & Jason Mcintosh - youth ministry 500.00 

Rhonda Martin & Allison Horn - children's ministry 486.32 

Duke Power 3949.61 

Lincoln County Water Dept. 2695.79 

TOTAL EXPENSES: $42,971.21 

ENDING BALANCE 



$4,500.43 



544 



2002 

Trustees Meet in Cold Weather 

February 19 - The temperature was in the 40s, but Mother Nature 
did not stop campground trustees from meeting under the picnic shel- 
ter at 2 p.m. for discussion on planning for the upcoming campmeet- 
ing. 

With Webbs Chapel becoming a station church and the Rock Spring 
Charge being dissolved, it was necessary to discuss what minister would 
host campmeeting in August. 

Also a discussion was held concerning possibly leasing land to the 
East Lincoln Christian Ministries for a new facility. 

Terry Brotherton informed the group of his campground book, ex- 
pected to be released in mid July. 

Baptists to have Special Services 

May 1 - New Hope Baptist Church is holding special services begin- 
ning Sunday May 5 and every Sunday through June 2 in the arbor at 
Rock Spring Campground. Services will be from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. 
as an outreach to the community. Everyone is invited to attend. 

There will be special music by groups and soloists each week. Rev. 
Bob Lynn of New Hope Baptist will preach, along with special guest 
speakers. 



545 



2002 



Campmeeting Neighbor will be Missed 

June 1 - I knew Mary Virginia Dellinger Smith my entire life. Her 
perky smile was there year after year as she and her family tented in Tent 
No. 88 at Rock Spring Campmeeting - right next door to us. 

Mary Virginia was there as usual last year with that always-cheerful 
attitude. The only thing different was the hat she wore. Some people 
thought it was a fashion statement. It wasn't; it was there to cover her 
hair loss due to cancer treatment. 

Mary Virginia won't be at campmeeting this year; she died June 5. 

As I read her obituary, I was surprised by how much I really didn't 
know about a person I had known all my life. Although she was older 
than me - a teenager when I was just a kid - her daughter, Heather, grew 
up right along with mine, but I never got deeper into Mary Virginia's 
life. 

When the rest of us looked like we had spent a week in the broiling- 
hot sun at campmeeting, Mary Virginia always looked picture-perfect. 
As a teen, I'm sure many boys wanted to take her to the shack, but she 
married Earl Carroll Smith. She was only 18, but their marriage lasted 40 
years. 

I never knew she was a great basketball star at Rock Springs High 
School, loved sports, earned a degree from Pfeiffer College in physical 
education or that she taught PE. I never knew that she was a Sunday 
School teacher or that she belonged to Hills Chapel United Methodist 
Church. I'm sorry I didn't know more about her life until now. 

We were all shocked to read of her death. With Mary Virginia, you 
just never knew anything was out of the ordinary - that's why you 
wouldn't know cancer was taking away her life. 

She'll be missed by all of us who tent near her family, but you can 
be sure she'll be there in spirit. 

Anna J. Fortenberry 



546 



ROCK SPRING CAMPGROUND 

PO BOX 204 

DENVER, NORTH CAROLINA 28037 



August 4 -11, 2002 

Get out the swing. Get out the cushions. Get out the front porch decorations and all 
those other things you bring to Campmeeting because it's that time of year. Let's all get 
ready for another great year at the Rock Springs Campground. 

The Campmeeting preacher will be Rev. Gene Richardson and worship services will 
begin at 8:00 PM each evening. Our youth services will once again be the little week 
starting July 29th; let's get all our youth involved before they have to start back to school. 

Enclosed you will find flyers providing information on the Gospel Concerts scheduled. 
We would appreciate your help to inform the public of these events. Please post a flyer 
on your church bulletin board and another at a neighborhood business. 

We ask the owners of each tent to please clean your tents out and the area around your 
tent. We want all the tents to be used and the ones that are in need of repair to be 
repaired. If you are unable to attend and would like for the Trustees to find someone to 
rent it for you, give any Trustee a call. We would be glad to assist. 

Tent Tax and Utilities is again $85.00. Please return in the enclosed envelope. 

We look forward to seeing you at Campmeeting! Get Ready for a Christian experience. 

Thank You, 



The Trustees 

Chairman: Jerry Dellinger 483-5272 

Greg Edwards 483-2073 

Clyde Armstrong 483-2882 

Ted Hendrix 483-9823 

Van Barker 483-2710 



Gary Holbrooks 483-1542 
Bynum Caldwell 483-4000 
Jay Sigmon 735-0425 

Tripp Callaway 483-1419 
Johnny Sigmon 483-9327 



547 



2002 



Four Generations Raise New Mcintosh Tent 



July - It will be like the song "We're Moving on Up" as at least two 
families will have new tents this year at Rock Spring Campground. Go- 
ing from two small tents side-by-side to two-story ones will seem like 
living in luxury - and one will even have a third-floor sleeping loft. 
They will switch from dirt floors to concrete, too. 

Tents 192 and 193 have been in the Mcintosh and Black families for 
generations. Guy Mcintosh said his old tent No. 192 was built with 
lumber horn his dad's farm when he bought the lot at Rock Spring Camp- 
ground back in 1936. They built the tent and moved in for their two 
weeks at campmeeting that year. So for this replacement tent, it was 
only fitting to have lumber made from trees cut off the 10 acres of the 
old farm that now belongs to him. 

At 8IV2 years young, Mcintosh said he has the blueprint plans for 
this new tent in his head. He's the first up the ladder to nail the studs for 

the wall that will 
separate the two 
tents. Looking 




Two families take 

a break during 

construction 



548 



2002 



forward to having the sleeping loft for the grand and great-grandchil- 
dren, the tradition of this family continues. 

The Mcintosh tent is now a fifth-generation tent. His father passed 
it along to him. He, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchil- 
dren will spend time at the tent this year the first part of August. And 
four generations were out at the campground in the sweltering heat for 
construction. Joining Guy were his son, Ellis; Ellis's oldest, Chad; and 
Chad's son, Kyle, other grandchildren and a few friends. 

Working right alongside their neighbors were the Blacks. Their tent 
originally belonged to William Claire Black. He passed it along to his 
son, Avery, who in turn passed it along to his children, Dean, Randy and 
Sherry. Sherry's husband David Salter and their two sons were hard at 
work as neighbor helping neighbor in what was termed a "good old- 
fashioned barn raising" sort of event. 

Story & photos by Anna J. Fortenberry 



Guy Mcintosh has the blueprint in 

his head. 

New tent has boards from his 

family's old farm. 




549 




(L-R) Ellis Mcintosh, Matthew Mcintosh, Jason Mcintosh 




(L-R) Matthew Mcintosh, Jason Mcintosh 



550 



2002 



Trustees Change Ministers 

July 10 - With Webbs Chapel United Methodist Church becoming 
a "station" church in June, the Rock Spring Charge was dissolved. Rev. 
Ted Hendrix had served the charge, consisting of Bethel and Webbs 
Chapel United Methodist Churches, for 10 years. Historically, the charge 
minister serves as the host minister for campmeeting. 

Trustees of the campground in mid-July decided to appoint the new 
minister of Bethel, Rev. Gary Fulker, as campmeeting preacher, thus elimi- 
nating Rev. Hendrix from the position. 

There was criticism from some concerning the release of Rev. Hendrix 
and especially the way it was handled with the timing, being only a 
couple weeks before campmeeting. 

The trustees of the campground did offer a public statement in which 
they explained and defended their action, as well as offering an apology, 
including thanking Rev. Hendrix for his years of service. 



551 



2002 



Trustees Respond 



July 20 - We, the trustees of Rock Spring Campground, do not pro- 
claim to be perfect. We sometimes must make tough decisions, which 
may not always be popular with all. 

Recently, with the dissolving of the Rock Spring Charge, the deci- 
sion had to be made about the campmeeting minister. 

Although the timing of our last decision concerning the campground 
minister was sudden, we felt a definite determination needed to be made 
for the future. 

We apologize to Rev. Hendrix for offending him in any way by this 
decision, and we appreciate his dedicated service over the past 10 years. 

We pray that this decision does not affect the spiritual well-being of 
the people who attend Rock Spring Campmeeting each and every year, 
and we look forward to another great revival for God's people. 

The Rock Spring Campground Trustees 



552 



CAMPMEETING SCHEDULE 



SUNDAY, AUGUST 4, 2002: 

10:00 a.m. Sunday School - Tim Killian 

1 1:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Rev. Gary Fulker, Bethel UMC 
8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

Bethel UMC Choir 
MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2002: 

11:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Rev. Gary Fulker, Bethel UMC 
8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

Webbs Chapel UMC Choir 
TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2002: 

11:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Rev. Joseph Westfall, Mt. Pleasant UMC 
8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

Salem UMC Choir 
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2002: 

1 1:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Rev. Barbara Ingram, Fairfield UMC 
8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

Hills Chapel UMC Choir 
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2002: 

11:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Rev. Tony Matthews, Hills Chapel UMC 
8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

Denver UMC Choir 
FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2002: 

1 1:00 a.m. Morning Worship - Rev. Jeffrey Johnson, Denver UMC 
8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 2002: 

8:00 p.m. Evening Worship - Rev. Gene Richardson, Faith UMC 

Children of Campmeeting 
SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 2002: 

10:00 a.m. Sunday School - Tim Killian 

11:00 a.m. Worship Service - Rev. Gary Fulker, Bethel UMC 

Campground Choir 
7:00 p.m. Unofficial Closing of Campmeeting - Rev. Gary Fulker 



553 




All those who wish to enter the presence of a Holy 
God And know His Promise in The Word. . . 

Pastor Terry Duckworth 

United Methodist Evangelist 

Shares a testimony that both 

inspires and enlightens. 



YOUTH EVENT 

ROCK SPRINGS CAMP MEETING 

"Under the Arbor" 

July 28th - Aug. 1st 

(Sunday - Thursday) 

7:30 p.m. 



Come hear Pastor Terry Duckworth and his Youth Ministries 
Outreach Program as he shares his testimony in word and song. 

Please Note the dates for the Camp Meeting Youth Services are 
during the "little" week in order to avoid conflict with the opening 

of school. 

Please gather with your friends "Under the Arbor". Help to make 
the "little" week a true spiritual happening and a challenge for all the 

services that will follow. 



554 



Saturday, August 3rd - 6pm 

Rock Springs Campground - Denver, NC 



"Southern Gospel Music's First Lady" 

Eva Mae Lefevre 

> FIRST CAROLINA APP<IARA1NK€ M MA1Y Y€AR$* 





The Greenes 

1 998 Southern Gospel Music 

$®W<& @F TH€ Y€AR ARTIST 

Over 20 Top 40 Southern Gospel Releases 



KAREN PECK and NEW RIVER 

2001 Southern Gospel Music 



Five #1 Releases 





Southerners Quartet 

Singing Southern Gospel for QWR 4i 



also. . . Southwind 



Friday, Aug. 2, 7pm Area Church Choirs. Groups, Quartets, Trios and Soloists 

Want to Participate? Call Jerry Delllnger (704) 483-5272 



ALL CONCERTS FREE 



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556 



2002 



Gospel Legend to Sing at Rock Spring 

August 3 - Tonight a throng of 5,000 people from all over the coun- 
try is expected to converge on historic Rock Spring Methodist Camp- 
ground to attend a southern gospel concert headlined by Eva Mae Lefevre. 
Lefevre is known as "Southern Gospel Music's First Lady." The concert 
begins at 6 p.m. 

The 84-year-old Atlanta resident now schedules less than a dozen 
concerts annually. She is recovering from heart surgery she underwent 
earlier this year. 

"Two weeks ago, I participated in my first concert since leaving the 
hospital," she said. "I really feel great and look forward to visiting Rock 
Spring Campground. I've heard so much about it, but I still can't get a 
picture in my mind as to what it actually looks like." 

The word "pioneer" can never be overused when discussing her. 
Her group, The Lefevres, were one of the first gospel music groups to 
sing on the radio. They started their own program on Atlanta's WGST in 
1939. Another top accomplishment in her storied history was the cre- 
ation of gospel's first television program. The Gospel Singing Caravan 
was televised on 65 stations for a decade, beginning in 1959. 

She possesses the most recognizable style of any pianist who ever 
graced a gospel concert stage - simply put, she can play the "dickens" 
out of a piano. 

"I just can't say how happy I am," she added. "I have a lot of faith 
and a great amount of hope. I could never thank God enough for what 
He has done for me. I want to sing and play for Him until I die or we're 
called home. I am so happy He is using me to still sing and witness to 
people." 

Other noted groups on the program, which will begin at 6 p.m., 
include the Greenes, Karen Peck and New River, The Southerners Quar- 
tet and Southwind. 

Rock Spring Campmeeting means many things to many people. 

557 



2002 



Dottie Clinard , who now lives in Greensboro, said that the campmeet- 
ing is the only place she gets to see old friends. 

"Some of these people I don't see but once a year," she said. "I was 
born during campmeeting 62 years ago, and I've been back every year 
since." 

Jerry Dellinger, chairman of the campground board of trustees, said 
that everyone is invited to the singing, whether they are tenting or not. 

"We would love, of course, for everyone to come out and join us for 
this free concert, featuring some of southern gospel music's greatest," 
he said. 

Everyone will not accept Dellinger's invitation, but at least 5,000 
are expected to gather in and around the historic arbor. 



558 



2002 



Thousands Enjoy 'Big Sing 



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Karen Peck and New River 



What was believed to be the largest 
"Big Sing" crowd ever turned out last Sat- 
urday night for the traditional night of 
Southern gospel music. 

Recording artists The Greenes, Karen 
Peck and New River, and the Southerners 
delighted thousands who turned out in 
scorching heat to hear some of their fa- 
vorite Christian tunes. The crowd came 
to its feet several times in appreciation 
for the performances. 

Eva Mae Lefevre, the "First Lady of 
Southern Gospel," had the crowd singing 
along with some of her old songs, and the 
audience returned the favor by singing 
"Happy Birthday" to her. She turned 85 
this week. 

All of the performers came together 
for an energetic grand finale that thrilled 
everyone. 




news @norman 



The Greenes 



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560 




ELHS Band Performs at Campmeeting 

Drum major Dana Innes leads members of the East Lincoln High School band as they 

perform the Star Spangled Banner durifig the weekend kickoff of the annual campmeeting 

at Rock Spring Campground 







— 







Estimates ranged as high as 5,000 for the 2002 "Big Sing" 



561 



2002 



Little Sunday Kicks Off Worship Services 

August 4 - Visitors walking the paths through Rock Spring Camp- 
ground Sunday morning heard the sounds of worship and praise echo- 
ing horn the arbor. The Campground Choir chimed in singing "How 
Great Thou Art." 

Rev. Gary Fulker of Bethel United Methodist Church paced the straw- 
covered floor preaching about the sanctity of relationships with God. 

Hundreds gathered under and around the arbor, fanning themselves 
and welcoming an occasional breeze. 

The opening worship service Sunday kicked off a week of events. 

"We live far away so it means getting to see old friends," says Ashley 
Ruffin of Apex. 

Ruffin returns to her family tent each year, as she's done all her life. 
Her sister, Candy Gillespie of Garner, comes "home" as well. 

"We grew up going here, and I want my little girls to know what it's 
all about." 

Gillespie plans to return again next year with the new addition to 
her family, due in eight weeks. 

As the morning worship service came to a close, people fanned out 
around the arbor greeting old friends. 

Children immediately broke out the balls and bats and began play- 
ing. The aroma of home-cooking wafted from the kitchens of the rug- 
ged wooden tents. And families took to their porch swings, taking in 
the view. 

Kendyll, Chip and Chad Dellinger of Union County headed back to 
their tent with their grandparents. 

"We come here every year with our grandparents," 8-year-old Chad 
said. 

The children's grandparents, Charles and Jo Dellinger of Charlotte, 
enjoy carrying on the family tradition. 

"I guess this is our 30th year," Jo Dellinger said. 

562 



2002 



Though she married into the tradition, she welcomed the experi- 
ence. It has become one she looks forward to each year. 

"It's a time for spiritual renewal." 

Rev. Fulker hopes the services offer exactly that. 

"It's a place where we can renew old friendships, and it's a place we 
can witness to our faith... where we can renew, refresh and revive our- 
selves in our faith 
of God." 




563 



2002 



Campmeeting is Very Big Part of Who I Am 

August 7 - When the cardboard fans start moving, you know it's 
campmeeting time again. 

Each year hundreds of families return to their wooden tents in a 
tradition that is unique to Denver. 

Whatever heat Mother Nature brings us, we're still out here hang- 
ing the curtains, frying the country ham, sitting on those hard pews 
under the arbor, visiting with our neighbors that are so close, we can tell 
you how loud they snore at night. Well, that is if anyone sleeps. Year 
after year we return. 

I've heard some say campmeeting is on its deathbed. Those folks 
obviously weren't out here Saturday night to witness what was described 
as the largest crowd ever to hear the gospel groups perform. And those 
are the folks who haven't lived this tradition all their lives. 

Why do we do this year after year? Why do we lug our campmeet- 
ing "equipment" out to our tents and why do we sit through sweltering 
heat? Why do we lose sleep and make endless gallons of tea to quench 
our never-ending thirst. Why do we fight with primitive plumbing and 
even more primitive sleeping cots, leaving behind the comforts of home? 

I can only give a few reasons that are embedded in so many of us 
who just wouldn't miss this for the world. It's the sweet smell of a fresh 
bale of straw. . .the gentle swaying of the swing. . .the cool breeze that some- 
how makes it to you as the evening falls... the joy and laughter of fami- 
lies coming together.. .the friends you see only once a year.. .the slow 
pace of life that takes over as soon as you open up your tent. It's the old 
hymns. ..the sound of the bell.. .the children who grow old only to be 
replaced by a new group of children. 

We've grown up together, grown old together, returned even when 
our friends have died. We've played ball together, rocked tents together, 
seen our children become friends and carry on the traditions. 

Campmeeting is indescribable to those who haven't experienced it. 

564 



2002 



Campmeeting is part of our soul. Campmeeting is our ancestors and our 
future generations. Campmeeting is part of who we are. 

Anna J. Fortenberry 

news@norman 

NOTE: Anna is a descendant of Rev. Daniel Asbury, the founder of 
campmeeting. 



565 



2002 



Unofficial Class Reunion 




Agnes Perkins and Sarah Bandy look over a 

photo of their senior class trip to 

Washington 



August 10 - It was an unoffi- 
cial 61 -year class reunion for the 
1941 graduation class from Rock 
Springs High School when 7 of the 
33 classmates gathered at Rock 
Spring Campmeeting. 

They all reminisced about the 
good old days at Rock Springs High 
and especially enjoyed looking at 
a photo of their senior class trip to 
Washington, D.C. Cost of the trip 
was $15 and they stayed the entire 
week! 




(L-R) Margaret Huskins Shuford, Ruby Sherrill Caldwell, Agnes Black Perkins, Sarah 
Henley Bandy, Rev. Don Fisher, Avis Howard Edwards and Anvil Brotherton Young 



news@Tiorman 



566 



2002 



Rev. Hendrix Recognized 



August 1 1 - Rev. Ted Hendrix received a plaque from Rock Spring 
Campground trustee chairman Jerry Dellinger that honored Hendrix for 
10 years of service as campmeeting preacher. The trustees recognized 
Hendrix and retiring trustee Clyde Armstrong during concluding ser- 
vices. 




news<Sriorman 



567 





Big Sunday worshippers sing praises August 11 



news@norman 



568 



FINANCIAL REPORT FOR YEAR 2002 
01/01/02 - 07/26/02 



BEGINNING BALANCE: 




$4,500.43 


INCOME: 






Interest Income 


$3.77 




Tent Tax and Utilities 


6930.00 




TOTAL INCOME: 


$6933.77 




EXPENSES: 






Bank Service Charge 


$60.00 




Flowers for funerals 


120.02 




Lawn Maintenance 


1268.90 




Hanes Music - sound system 


2700.67 




Claremont Wholesale - pipe for road 


465.34 




Envelopes and postage for letter 


210.00 




Duke Power 


338.14 




Lincoln County Water Dept. 


412.45 




TOTAL EXPENSES: 


$5,575.52 




ENDING BALANCE 




$5,858.68 



569 



2002 



Largest Campground Wedding Ever 

September 7 - Rock Spring Campground has been the scene for 
many weddings, but never anything of the magnitude that took place 
today. 

Leslie Nicole Ewing and Brennan Scott Killian were married under 
the arbor this afternoon at 5:30 before a capacity audience. 

Leslie is the daughter of Eddie and Debbie Ewing. Scott is the son of 
Tim and Jo Killian. 

The reception was held adjacent to the arbor under a huge white 
tent, perhaps half the size of the arbor. 

The couple are lifelong residents of the Denver community. 




You may now kiss the bride 



I now pronounce you... 




570 




As seen from under the tent 



Wedding cake rests under the bell tower 



The newly-married couple enjoys their wedding 
cake 




571 




The sign says it all 



Ballard Reunion 



The newly-married couple were 

taken round the campground in 

a horse-drawn carriage 



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September 8 - The 63rd annual Staten and Maxie Ballard family 
reunion was held today at the Rock Spring Campground. 



New Trustees Selected 

October 5 - Tony Sherrill and Billy Ayers were selected to fill two 
vacancies on the board of trustees. 



572 



More Campmeeting Photos 

1970 

through 

2002 



573 




(L-R) Melanie Geddes, 

Robbie Byers and Heather 

Bost- 1989 



Marcie Hicks- 1985 



Mitchell Parker & Rita 
Hicks Parker- 1989 



574 




(L-R) Danny & Peggy Gabriel and Ruth Little 




Ford Mayhew (left front), Don Arndt (center) - 1978 



575 




Dot & Cleo Knight 




(L-R) Rose Beam; Mack Little and Ruth Little 



576 



(Center) Dana & Allison 

Amdt. Children's parade last 

Saturday morning of 

campmeeting 1986. 





Helen Robinson - 1986 



It pays to advertise. Over 300 bologna 

sandwiches sen'ed Wednesday night, 

August 7, 2002. 



577 




(L-R) Doyle Holdsclaw and Wes Mimdy 
1973 



Laying foundation for Tent No. 144, one of 

the extra lots created after fire of 1 973 

(May, 1974) 




(L-R) Doyle Holdsclaw and Rogers Sigmon - 1987 



578 




(Center) Mrs. Katie Mundy and Mrs. Vivian Mundy 
T 




Parading through the hollow 



579 




Campmeeting Memories - The walls of Terr} 1 Brotherton's Rock Spring Campground tent 
are adorned with photos of past campmeetings 




(L-R) Ottie Mayhew, Randy Robinson, Helen 
& Brooks Robinson 



Dottie Cornelius 



580 




(Left) Harold Harwell - 2002 




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Fred McCall 




(L-R) Dot Knight and Merle Robbins 



June Mayhew 



582 




(L-R) Ottie Robinson and Merle 
Robbins 



Front: (L-R) Ottie Robinson and Haster 

Howard 

Rear: (L-R) Neil Howard and Helen Robinson 



583 




(L-R) Pam & Haleigh Lippard 




Ruth Little 



584 




Nancy Barnette 




(L-R) Amber Sherrill, Mrs. Key Howard and Mrs. Mack Little 



585 




(L-R) Mark and [esse Holbrooks - 2002 




Ruth Barker 



586 




(L-R) Julie Laney Manner and Cherie Caldwell - 1989 




Dean & Shelia Dellinger - 1988 



Start them young and they'll keep coming 

hack. At 3 weeks of age, Marcie Hicks is 

introduced to campmeeting in 1979. (L-R) 

Winfred, Staa' and Nancy Hicks. 



587 




Leslie Sherrill 




(L-R) Tern' Brotherton, Jim Hallman and Ike Proctor at the Big Sing 2002 



588 




Frances & Richard Sigmon - 2002 




(L-R) Rudy Sherrill and Ike Proctor 



589 




590 




The Proctor and Caldwell Families - 2002 




Antique steam engine displayed at 1994 carnptneeting 



591 



(L-R) Jack Thompson, Sam 

Moore, Sue Goodson and Todd 

Goodson - 1996 




No phone, no TV - only peacefidness. Ned McCall, Lib Callaway and Tred McCall, Jr., 
while away the hours while David Singletary sits in the crow's nest (top) - 1998 



592 




Campmeeting chat: Anna McLauhorn (left) and Megan Cooper spend an evening talking 

1997 



593 




Sidney and Martha Jones prepare supper - 1 997 




Gaynell Beacham prepares a burger 

during the annual picnic for the flock 

of Webbs Chapel United Methodist 

Church. The cookout is an annual 

event during campmeeting. 



594 



(Below) fennv Edwards - 1970s 





Sue Sherrill and Lizbeth Taylor - 2000 




Usher passes the collection "pan" to worshippers 
outside the arbor 



595 




Jerry Signoria and Bradley Long ■ 
2002 



Gabriel & Mildred 
Little - 1980 



596 




Frank Shelton and Friend - 2001 



Agnes Cline with granddaughter 
Sherri Cline Rhyne and great- 
granddaughters Madalyn, 
Hannah and Mary Beth Rhyne 




Vhian Mundy celebrates 82nd birthday 
2001 




597 




Don Barkle}' and daughter Millie 




Helen Shuford and Elsie Harrill, daughters 
of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Michael Rudisill 



Four generations of Barkers at the campground: Benny, 
Jordan, fames and Jamie 




598 




(L-R) Sam Moore and James Hacks 




Tammy 6: Randy Montgomery, Jewell Long, Ann & Al Eudy and Cind)' Dellinger 



599 




Nine-year-old Dustin Mertz squirts his eyes while filling a water balloon - 2000 



600 




Bobbv Nance 




McKenzie Lynch - 2000 



601 




The Callaway and Lawing families 




Some bring their bikes to campmeeting - 1 999 



602 



Robert, Beverly, Jonathon 

and Joslria Baysden - 2002 



Don & Brenda 
Yarns and 

grandson Caleb 
Story - 2002 




603 




(L-R) Sisters Leslie Sherrill, Virginia Brotherton and Arvelle Young, each a campmeeting 

veteran - 1995 




(From left) Karen Ray, Kristin Olson, Dottie Hoyle, Deanice Shifflett and McKenzie Lynch 

break beans as they sit and talk 



604 




W.W. Mundy and wife head to tent for Big Sunday lunch 




Descendants of Ralph and Jesse Sheirill 



605 




The Jim & Susan Sherrill family 



606 




Lester Brotherton celebrates his 80th 

birthday with grandchildren during 

campmeeting 



(L-R) Steven McCorkle, Laura Wilkinson, Casey 
McCorkle and Lauren Sigmon - 2000 



Connie and the 

Hoppers at Big 

Sing 2000 




607 




Murrey Sherrill - 1981 




(L-R) Flora Little and Man' Brotherton 



Allen Sherrill 



608 




(Above) Martha & Murrey Slwrrill - 1983 



Children in swing (L-R): 

Chad Millmrn, Mart}' Milburn, Kelly 

Sipes, 

(unknown) - 1978 




609 




(Left) Doyle Holdsclaw 




"Big Mac" Arthur Abemathy - 1970 



610 




Oscar Abernathy 




(L-R) Myrtle Newton, Ruth Barker and Beth' Freeze 



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Dorothy Milburn and son, 
Marty- 1995 



611 




The Inaugural Bologna Fest Staff- 1995 




Marty Milbum • 1983 



612 




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(L-R) John Cary, Mamie Sherrill and Norma 
Jean Cary 



"Big Mac" Arthur Abernathy cleans out tent 




Gabe Sigmon 



Aleen Henley - 1998 



615 




Parade of youngsters that attended children's service - 1985 



616 




Dovle Holdsclaw 




(L-R) Lester Brotherton and William Little 



617 




(L-R) Jerod & Matthew Mcintosh - 1995 




Terry Brotherton and Lincoln Count}' 
Sheriff; Barbara Pickins -1998 



Ninet)'-two-year-old Eugene McConnell 
1995 



618 




Robert Howard and grandson Jared - 1990 




(Left) feannie Clodfelter - 1970 



619 




Jason Craig, Tommy and Morgan Coley and (in background) Craig Bess, Sheryl and 
Samantha Coley and Glenda Craig 




(L-R) Amy Long, Jessica and Wendy Campbell - 2002 



620 




Agnes Cline, grandson, Robby, and sister, Vera Brotberton - 1994 



Punk Hicks and 

Loga>i Barkley in 

1994 



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621 




Tony Gore - Big Sing 2002 




Richard Sigmon (2nd from right) sings with Chuck Wagon Gang - 2000 



622 




Children's senice 2000 




Enjoying the Big Sing 2001 



623 




Joyce Swanzey - 1 97 S 




(L-R) Allen and Maxim Ballard - 1976 



624 




"Big Mac" Arthur Abemathy 




Aleen Henley- 1998 









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Catlin Morgan Pyatt - 1994 




Lockie Newton - 1994 



626 




Conversation on a dark night. (They're probably curfew violators.) 



(Below, left to right) Craig Bess and sister 

Sheryl Kenneth Bess, Brenda Little Bess and 

Fave Newton Kennerlv - 1975 




627 




Friends - 2001 



They'll keep coining back - 2001 



628 



199 S 



The Martin 

and Jones 

ladies 




629 




(Right) Shelley Sigmon 



630 




Typical tent 




(L-R) Mr. & Mrs. Jeiry Dellinger and Mr. & Mrs. Troy Dellinger 



631 




Admiring their flower display (L-R) Mrs. Terry Barker, Mrs. Van Barker, Jr. 





632 




Another water fight 

(Below) A deserted passway 



Friends chat 




633 




1999 




(Below) Crowded parking area 



634 




635 




Children's service 




Children's service 



636 




Back row: Gordon Drum, Harry Blackwelder, Dave Brown 

Center row: Candy Sigmon, Billie Jo Drum, Tern' Brown, Ellen Blackwelder 

Front row: Brian Sigmon, Amy Long, Gaynell Beacham, Garrett Long 

On bench: Jeff Long 

Front center: Susan Drum 

2002 



Gaynell Beacham 
celebrates 39 plus 1 1 

birthdays during 
campmeeting 2002 




637 




Carmen Craig - 1980 




(L-R) Craig Bess, Carmen Craig, Mildred Little, Jason Craig, Sheryl Bess, Brenda Bess and 

Elaine Campbell in background - 1981 



638 




Children's sendee play time 




(Far right) Brother and sister Monroe Howard and Lockie Cherry 



639 



640 



Rock Spring Campground 
Anecdotes 



Facts and Nostalgia 

Plus... Stories About Memorable Characters and 

Customs 

Humorous Tales About Mules, Ministers, 
Outhouses and Model-As 

Pranks and Jokes 

Embarrassing Situations and Mischief 

Funny Events and Outlandish Exploits 



641 




First Automobile at Campground 

Haywood Nixon brought the first automobile to the campground. It was a Max- 
well. The exact year is unknown. Mr. Nixon offered rides 
to Denver and back to the campground for 15 cents per 
person. 

A Maxwell was one step above a horse and buggy. 
It had a hand-cranked, two-cylinder, 10-horsepower en- 
gine cooled by water. The car would travel at a top speed 
of 20-25 miles per hour. 

Two kerosene lanterns on the side, a kerosene tail- 
light and two headlights fueled by carbide - a fuel used 
in miner's lights - provided light after sundown. 

A Maxwell in 1909 sold for about $600. Replacement parts ranged from $1 for a 
brake pedal to $54 for a complete frame. 

Pat Goodson - 1963 

The first automobile in the state went to Mr. D.E. Rhyne of Lincolnton. The 
Lincoln Journal of November 1899 published the following: 

"Mr. Dan E. Rhyne received his automobile Friday and has since been diligently 
at work, assisted by Mr. A.M. Price, in taming it. As soon as they get it trained to keep 
in the middle of the road and break it from climbing trees, Mr. Rhyne was going to 
take a ride. The possession of the first and only automobile in the state is adding 
considerably to Mr. Rhyne's popularity. All want to take a ride." 

Judging from the first automobile in the state being 1899, one would conclude 
that the first such machine to visit Rock Spring would have been soon after the turn 
of the century. 

The above photo isn't a Maxwell, but the trusty old A-Model Ford fetched many 
a local to Rock Spring in the early days of automobile transportation. 



Mowing the Grounds 

If you can remember Mr. Charlie Dellinger, Sr., and 
his team of mules and mowing machine readying the 
grounds for an upcoming meeting, you're near sixty or 
older. After Mr. Dellinger put the mules out to pasture, 
Roger and J.W. Sigmon assumed the annual July mowing 
project with their tractors and Bush Hogs. Today the 
grounds are mowed several times prior to campmeeting 
by many volunteer individuals. 

Pictured is the type of equipment used in the early 
days to groom the grounds. Seated is Mr. John Killian, who owned a general store that 
stood at the intersection of NC-16 and NC-150, 2 miles north of Denver. 




642 



Young Pianist 

Traditionally, an adult serves as pianist for campmeeting. For 1976, 15-year-old 
Romona Christopher broke the tradition and filled the position. 



-4s 



Slip of the Tongue 

At one service being conducted by Rev. J.B. Fitzgerald, his sermon text called for 
"What in the devil will we do?" but it came out as, "What in the hell will we do?" Rev. 
Fitzgerald was Rock Spring Charge pastor horn 1953-1956. 



Coldest Campmeeting 

In the diary of Thomas William Brotherton for 1889, then a trustee and mayor 
of the campground, he wrote that it was the coldest campmeeting ever, with both 
ladies and men wearing long coats the entire campmeeting. 



The Striped Mule 

E.R "Bunk" Brotherton, of the Ringdom community, was many times the victim 
of harmless pranks played upon him by his friends. One such incident was the paint- 
ing of Bunk's mule like a zebra and then tying the animal to the arbor bell rope. 

Agnes Cline 



Wagon in the Spring 

A gentleman from Mt. Holly, name unknown, was tenting in a covered wagon. 
Under the influence of local moonshine one evening, he was convinced that the 
wagon he was at was the property of another. He consented to helping push his own 
wagon into the spring. This was prior to the building of the spring house. 

Joe Barker 



Airplane Rides 

It was about 1938 or 1939, and a Joe or June Morrison rented land on Catawba- 
Burris Road from Jerry Mundy during campmeeting for the purpose of landing his 



643 



airplane. He did a brisk business charging tenters $1.25 for a 10 minute ride over the 
campground to Forney Creek and back. 

Mrs. Mabel Mundy - 1963 



Saddles and Bridles Available 

Walter Payne of Mt. Holly was a regular visitor to the grounds in the early 1900s. 
Each year he would bring a wagon load of leather products for sale to the captive 
audience of farmers, all owners of horses and mules. He set up shop on property 
adjoining the grounds that is now owned by Donald Mundy. 

S.M. Brotherton 



Individuals Known to have Served as Trustee for Rock Spring 

Campground 



E.L. Sherrill 
J.B. Shelton 
Dick Howard 
Arnie Cashion 
Loy McConnell 
Jimmy Brotherton 
Dennis Dellinger 
Walter Abernathy 
J.W. King 
Bobby Harris 
Van Barker, Jr. 
Terry Barker 
Gary McCorkle 
Dwight Callaway, Jr. 
Johnny Sigmon 
Jerry Sigmon 
Clyde Armstrong 
J.H. King 
W.J. Howard 
H.D. Shelton 
F.W. Howard 
Joseph Shelton 
David Kincaid 
J. Alex Brotherton 



J.J. Mundy 
A.H. Sigmon 
E.M. Howard 
H.D. Howard 
J.P. Sifford 
S.J. Whitner 
W.J. Wingate 
J.O. Lowe 
J.T. Beatty 
G.P. Sherrill 
Jack Beatty 
Craig Mcintosh 
J.O. Brotherton 
Bynum Caldwell 
Bill Ballard 
B.F. Cornelius 
W.A. Smith 
J.C. Thompson 
Martin Sigmon 
Charlie Mcintosh 
Press Cornelius 
June Bolick 
Frank Kelly 
Otha Howard 



Will Howard 

Thomas Lee Brotherton 

S.O.D. Brotherton 

Isaac Robinson 

O.W. Gabriel 

Oscar Hobbs 

Charlie Deather 

John Sigmon 

Bill Ballard 

Jerry Dellinger 

Harvey Jonas, Jr. 

Ted Broach 

Frank Howard 

Billy Holdsclaw 

James Bivins 

James Washington Lowe 

Thad Gabriel 

W. Freeman Howard 

Richard Proctor 

Thomas Ward 

Robert Abernathy 

PA. Thompson 

I. Lowe 

John R. Asbury 



644 



T.C. Lowe 
Francis Howard 
B.P. Brotherton 
Billy Avers 
W.H. Sigmon 
H.N. Little 
J.J. Mundy 
S.S. Howard 
W.A. Smith 
Charlie Dellinger, Sr. 
Gary Holbrooks 
B.S. Sherrill, Sr. 
B.S. Sherrill, Jr. 
William Lee Sigmon 
Rev. Joe Ervin 
J.W. Brotherton 
Robert Cline 
Sebe Mundy 
Tripp Callaway 



Thomas William Brotherton 

T.H. Proctor 

Dr. Alex Sherrill 

C.S. Rozell 

Rev. W. Levi C. Killian 

Rev. Henry Asbury 

Thomas J. Caldwell 

Thomas Beatty 

O.F. Howard 

J. A. King 

Charles Gabriel 

James Abernathy 

James W. Lowe 

J.O. Robinson 

H.A. Howard 

E.L. Sherrill 

W. George Brotherton 

Greg Edwards 

Jay Sigmon 



Tonv Sherrill 



List of trustees does not include ministers of Rock Spring Methodist Charge that 
have served on the board due to exact date when this custom started being unknown. 
It appears from old records that it is likely Rev. Paul Ridenhour was the first to actually 
hold the title of trustee in 1964, even though the charge minister has always played a 
vital role in campmeeting. In 1961, with the death of trustee Jack Beatty, a vacancy 
existed on the board. Up until that time and in 1962, Rev. Ridenhour was referred to 
at trustee meetings as an invited guest. Minutes of meetings beginning in 1964 note 
Rev. Ridenhour as a trustee. A replacement for Beatty was never recorded which leads 
to speculation it was Rev. Ridenhour. 



First Non-Methodist Trustee 

A non-Methodist was named to the board of trustees in July of 1975. It marked 
the first time in its existence that such had served. Bobby Harris of Maiden, a Baptist, 
was made a board member to fill one of the vacancies created when W.L. Sigmon and 
Bill Holdsclaw resigned. 



645 



First Painted Tent also had First 
Telephone 

Following the fire of 1973, Lester Brother- 
ton of Charlotte rebuilt his tent and painted it a 
light shade of green. It was the first tent to be 
fully painted on the outside. 

Trustees presently discourage painted tents. 

The tent was the first to have a telephone 
installed. Brotherton's son-in-law was on 24-hour 
call at his place of employment and the phone 
was necessary. Note the phone box on the side 
of the tent. 



JBf 


>4$ r " r- ~"" := ^ r ~^^ — ^ 


MfVBll 




HmHRBI'^ - -4 — - 



Shorts Permitted 

Wearing shorts to worship services would 
have been unthinkable in the early days of 
campmeeting. In fact, it would have been con- 
sidered a disgrace to even wear such on the 
grounds. Things change with time. 

In 1971, the young people were permit- 
ted for the first time to wear shorts to the af- 
ternoon youth services. Even in 1971 it would 
have been unthinkable for a minister to show 
up in shorts, let alone deliver a message from 
the arbor pulpit in such clothes. 

By 1994, times had continued to change 
as Rev. Gene Richardson offered his sermon 
Big Sunday night wearing shorts. Of course, 
some of the old timers that have gone on to 
their rewards would have been ready to "run 
the preacher off" had they been here to wit- 
ness such. 

Considering the very relaxed and infor- 
mal atmosphere that existed at that last Sunday night service, Rev. Richardson's form 
of dress was quite acceptable to everyone. 




646 



Early Sleeping Custom 

Almost forgotten is a custom that existed in the early days. The men slept in the 
loft or upstairs and the wife and children slept downstairs. 



You Scream, I Scream, Everyone Screams for Ice Cream! 

Going to the shack to get a "cone of cream," as some of elder citizens called it, 
was a big treat some 60 to 75 years ago. The present day shack management may find 
this hard to believe but, at one time, Coble Dairy of Lincolnton kept a truckload of ice 
cream parked beside the shack and the entire inventory of the storage truck would be 
exhausted before the close of campmeeting. It was a common sight to see the empty 
ice cream tubes piled head-high across the road in front of the shack, waiting for the 
daily burning session. 



No Coke, but Plenty of Orange Soda 

During the WWII years, soft drinks were hard to come by due to sugar shortages. 
H.N. Little was the shack operator, and the prospect of having Coke and Pepsi avail- 
able for campmeeting looked bleak. Being the enterprising individual that he was, Mr. 
Little found in Charlotte a source that could supply bottled orange drinks. He used his 
truck and hauled them to Rock Spring by the load. There were few real dopes on the 
grounds that year, but who cared when you could get an ice cold orange soda? 

Walter Abemathy 



Trustees' Rules of Changing Tent Name Ownership 

It is the rule of the Chairman of the Trustees that the name of a tent owner 
cannot be changed unless a copy of sales is shown, which must be notarized or by so 
stated in legal will. 



Wash's Shoeshine Stand 

As recent as the mid 1960s, Lattice "Wash" Clark operated a shoeshine stand 
directly across the road from the shack under a large oak tree. 

Clark had constructed a portable stand, much like found in barber shops at the 
time. 



647 










^r ^wt: 






• 


i Sk mm 






MB*' 




:. : : : : ™ ?: : : 










"^IH 







"X" marks the location of Wash's shoeshine stand 



Lattice "Wash" Clark 



The "Iceman" is Gone 

The Davidson Ice and Fuel Company, "Iceman" as he was known, halted his 
truck wherever a lady stood in a tent doorway. Purchases could be made in amounts 
of 25, 50, 75 or 100 pounds. He would pull back a heavy weathered canvas that pro- 
tected the hundreds of pounds of slowly melting ice blocks. The truck's wooden bed . 
was always wet and cold with the runoff. If you were fortunate, the Iceman had no 
block of ice the size ordered. He would cut one of the larger blocks, with shavings 
going to the lucky. 

Service included metal tongs for lowering his product into the tin-lined ice box 
inside the tent. Emptying the drip pan under the ice box is another chore long gone 
from the campmeeting scene. 

After making his rounds of the tents, any unsold product was unloaded at the 
shack. The shack was equipped with wooden boxes about eight feet long and two feet 
wide and deep. Each was coated with tar to protect from leaks. Stored in these were 
rows of soft drinks in bottles, "dopes" we called them back in those days. When cov- 
ered with blocks of ice, one could really get an ice cold Coke. 

Children were paid 25 cents per crate to make rounds of the grounds picking up 
the empty bottles. 

In an effort to get away from broken glass on the grounds, with the introduction 
of can drinks, the bottle was replaced for one year. This was discontinued at the re- 
quest of the Sheriff's Department, as it was difficult to tell the difference between a 
can of Coke and a "cool one" due to the limited campground lighting. Eventually the 
bottled drinks were replaced with the fountain imitation. 

Nineteen sixty-five marked the end of the daily ice deliveries. 



648 





Tool of the Iceman's trade - tongs for 
carrying the blocks of ice 



Each tent had an icebox and several ice 
picks 



Nobody Ever Had Seen it Before 

I remember one time when I was just real little, a man had the children's service 
and he told us he was going to bring us something that nobody had ever seen before. 
We were so excited we could hardly sleep at night. I thought it was some sort of 
strange animal. For several days I walked around just wondering. I really expected a 
big, wild, strange animal. When we got there, it was a peanut. He opened it up and 
there was the goober. Nobody had ever seen it before. He ate it. Nobody ever saw it 
again. 

Blair Abernathy, Jr. - 1994 



^kx. 



Two-Pew Jumper 

Forty years ago, the preaching at campmeeting made an elderly man so happy, 
the man leaped two pews at a time from the front to the back of the arbor. He never 
missed a step. He got happy and he jumped every other bench from the front to the 
back. 

J.W.Sigmon- 1980 



649 



A-Model Down the Spring Steps 

As a youngster, Ike Proctor hid behind a tree in the nearby woods and watched a 
couple slightly intoxicated individuals drive their A-Model Ford from top to bottom 
of the concrete spring steps. 

According to Ike, when the Ford reached the spring, it had two flats and spin- 
ning rims with sparks flying. 

At that time, there wasn't a concrete wall in front of the springhouse, just level 
ground that allowed the pair to drive their abused A-Model back up the hill. 



Tar Tree 

A small tree sprouted in front of the family tent of J.W. and T.R. Sigmon. Each 
visitor to the tent pulled, leaned on or abused the tree in some way. The two brothers 
applied tar to the tree's branches, which eliminated the tree's problem and perhaps 
encouraged some to not pay a return visit to J.W. and T.R. 

J.W. Sigmon- 1995 



Honorary Trustees 

There are numerous individuals that still actively support campmeeting that 
previously served on the board of trustees. Only two men have the distinction of 
having been named as Honorary Trustee. William Lee Sigmon and B.S. Sherrill, Sr., 
after resigning from the board, were bestowed with the honor at the May 4, 1975, 
meeting of the trustees. 



"You'll Regret This, Young Man" 

A young man bumped his car into another owned by an elderly gentleman on 
the campground. The old gentleman was subjected to some strong verbal abuse by 
the young man. 

"You'll regret this," said the older man. 

When the young man appeared in a Lincoln County court a couple of weeks 
later, who did he find on the bench? Judge Kemp B. Nixon, the elderly gentleman. 

Peggy Simmons - 1994 



650 



No Females 

No female has ever served on the board of trustees. The subject was discussed at 
a board meeting August 11, 1974. No action was taken. 



Number of Trustees Established 

An act of the 1850-51 N.C. General Assembly states there shall be no less than 
five trustees and no more than ten. 



Where Did Single Men 
Gather? 

"Stag's Corner." Some 50 to 60 
years ago, a vacant lot existed where tent 
11 -A sits today. It was a nightly gather- 
ing place for the unmarried gentlemen 
of the grounds. When someone would 
ask, "Where's so-and-so?" the usual re- 
ply was, "He's over at Stag's Corner." 
Richard Sigmon - 1995 




Stag's Corner - 1950s 



Trustees of Rock Spring Campground 

The original deed for Rock Spring Campground contains the names of only three 
trustees: Thurman Shelton, Richard Proctor and James Bivins. When the grounds 
were incorporated by an act of the N.C. Legislature in 1851, seven men were listed as 
trustees. Records indicate the incorporated town of Rock Spring was governed by ten 
councilmen that contained a mayor, three commissioners and six aldermen. 



651 



It is No Democracy 

Tent owners have often raised the question as to why they are not allowed to 
have a say in who serves as trustee. W. Gene in 1990, a trustee of Balls Creek Camp- 
ground and Newton attorney, gave this reply in a newspaper interview, "This is not a 
democracy. We have duty and resolve. We avowed to keep campmeeting just the way 
it was. It's no theme park. The challenge to the trustees is to keep campmeeting alive." 



Trustees Can Fill Vacancies 

An 1871 law passed by the N.C. General Assembly states trustees have the right 
to fill vacancies due to death or refusal to serve. 



Trustees' Dinner Meeting 

Beginning in 1964, trustees established a tradition of conducting a dinner meet- 
ing each winter at Jones Fish Camp to begin planning for the next meeting. 

Other than the self-satisfaction of knowing they are helping to preserve the 
historical institution at Rock Spring, this is the only compensation they received for 
their services, as the dinner cost is paid horn the camp treasury. 

Ain't much reason to complain about someone that works that cheap, is there? 




First Paved Driveway 

Mr. Floyd Howard was the first to 
have his own personal paved driveway. 
Mr. Howard had the drive to the rear of 
his tent paved in 1972. 



652 



When Does Campmeeting Begin and End? 

According to an 1879 law passed by the N.C. General Assembly, "the campground 
shall be considered as occupied for worship upon arrival of the first wagon to the 
departure of the last wagon at any encampment." 



Fill-In Secretary to Board of Trustees 

Newton Smith, Jr., a Denver native, reports that as a youth he served as an "un- 
official" secretary to the board. Then secretary Sebe Mundy often didn't attend the 
board meetings. Young Smith did attend, as he went with his grandfather, O.F. Howard. 
When Mundy was not present, which was often, Smith kept the minutes of the meet- 
ings. 



Many Records Destroyed 

In a conversation, Mrs. Grace Howard Smith (1895-1969) told my mother, Vir- 
ginia Brotherton, many records concerning Rock Spring Campground were destroyed 
upon the death in 1945 of her father, O.F. Howard, a longtime trustee. With the 
cleaning of Mr. Howard's house upon his death, Mrs. Smith said much information 
was taken to a nearby gully by a new family member by marriage without her knowl- 
edge. 

Records lost pertain mainly to years 1920-1945. 



Entrance Gates 

Denver's Joe King, Jr., a lifelong tenter at Rock Spring, constructed passway gates 
that lead to the arbor. 




653 



Deaths at Campground 

An account given by Mrs. Mabel Mundy in 1963 stated that 
an individual was killed by a horse during campmeeting. She was 
unable to remember a name and year. 

Trustee Mr. Eural Jackson (Jack) Beatty suffered a heart at- 
tack on the campground Saturday, August 12, 1961. He had been 
notified of a long-distance telephone call from a friend in 
Hendersonville. He drove his car from his tent to the shack where 
a telephone was located. After talking to his friend he slumped 
over the steering wheel upon entering the automobile. 

Dr. W.W. Skeen, who had a family practice in Denver at the 
time, was called and after repeated attempts to revive Mr. Beatty, 
he was pronounced dead. 




Mabel Mundy 



Funeral at Rock Spring 

Prior to the services for Rogers Sigmon, only one other funeral had been con- 
ducted at the campground. It was for Charlie Deather, a trustee. When this took place, 
as well as any additional information on Mr. Deather, is unknown. 

Mrs. Mabel Mundy - 1963 



Civil War Years 

History states that no campmeeting was held at nearby Balls Creek in 1863 due 
to the disturbance of the Civil War. It is quite possible a lapse also existed at Rock 
Spring. 

It is known that Yankee soldiers did at one time during the war set up camp on 
the grounds. Upon vacating the grounds, they set fire to some tents. It smothered 
and did not spread. 



Weekday 11 a.m. Service Eliminated 

Tradition since the beginning of campmeeting called for a morning worship 
service Tuesday through Saturday under the leadership of the guest campmeeting 
preacher. Due to declining attendance, trustees voted February 15, 1976, to discon- 
tinue such services. 



654 



The weekday morning services were revived a few years ago with a different area 
minister filling the pulpit Monday through Friday of Big Week. 



Dog on the Arbor Rope 

In the early 1950s, a group of young men borrowed without permission a fox 
hound from Richard Little's dog lot located beside Rock Spring High School. About 1 
a.m., the pranksters tied the arbor bell rope around the body of the dog. Each time the 
dog moved, the bell would ring. Deputies gave the dog its freedom. 

In an effort to continue their prank, William Rumfelt climbed to the top of the 
arbor and started ringing the bell. Deputies arrived instructing Rumfelt to come down. 
He decided to jump and run, but he landed in the arms of Deputy Jack Schronce and 
was captured. End of William's fun for the night. 

William Rumfelt - 1992 



Repeat Performance 

These pictures captured Thad Gabriel and Wes Mundy "cutting a rusty." Gabriel, 
Terrell Cotton Gin owner and former Catawba County Commissioner, and Mundy, 
whose grandfather provided land for Rock Spring Campground, were famous for their 
buck-dancing at area Fiddlers Conventions. 





(L-R) Mundy and Gabriel - 1973 



(L-R) Gabriel and Mundy - 1978 



655 



Three Sisters had Adjoining Tents 




Prior to the fire of April 17, 1981, sisters Mrs. Ester King, Mrs. Ida Howard and 
Mrs. Carrie Gabriel had adjoining tents at the campground. In the kitchens of those 
tents the partitioning walls were only about waist high so that the ladies could visit 
while cooking for their families, or even perhaps share their food with each other. The 
tables in those tents furnished food for numbers of hungry tenters and fed many 
ministers. 

In order not to cut an old oak that stood for many years, a back shed was built 
behind the King tent around the tree. The tree was lost to a fire. 



656 



Tent No. 1 

Esquire W. Freeman Kelly built Tent No. 1 from logs cut on the grounds. Kelly 
was the son of Charles Kelly and Martha Mayberry. His mother was the daughter of 
Jack Mayberry and Polly Guthrie. The Guthrie family relocated to Mississippi. The 
Mayberrys came from London. They were skilled workers in iron. Her grandfather, 
Jack Mayberry, was drowned in the Catawba River near Cowan's Ford. 

Kelly married Rebecca Howard and they lived together to celebrate their golden 
wedding. She was the daughter of Henderson Howard and Rebecca Wagner. 

It is thought that the tent passed from Kelly to Jenny Gordon, a daughter who 
transferred it to Freeman Howard, a nephew to Esq. Kelly. Howard sold the tent to his 
nephew, Blair Abernathy, in 1959. 

The original tent was destroyed by fire on April 17, 1981. Abernathy reconstructed 
a replacement from logs that closely resembled Esq. Kelly's first tent. 

Several questions remain about the original tent that continue to go unanswered. 
How did Kelly obtain his lot? The first sale of lots was conducted May 15, 1830. He did 
not purchase a lot at that first auction. 

Did Kelly purchase the lot secondhand from someone that bought it at the auc- 
tion in May 1830? No permanent structures existed at the first meeting. Those at- 
tending camped in wagons and on the ground. 

The campground purchased the tent from Abernathy midsummer of 1997 for 
$20,000. 




Tent No. 1-1939 



657 




658 




_Jfr«EC_- 



Blair Abernathy in front of Tent No. 1 reproduction in late July of 1994 




Johnny Morton (left) and Harold Gabriel survey ruins of Tent No. 1 the 
morning after the fire of April 17, 1981 



659 



Trash Pickup 

In the beginning, an individual with a horse and wagon toured the grounds 
each morning to pick up garbage placed in cans or bags at the rear of their tent. For 
many years, Roscoe McCorkle handled the chore. 





Progress changes things. 
After the horse and wagon, Mr. 
McCorkle changed to a tractor 
and trailer for trash pickup. 

A pit was dug annually on 
the grounds for disposal of 
Roscoe's loads. 



Once Roscoe departed the scene in the mid 1960s, Johnny Lee Roseboro con- 
tracted for garbage disposal service. Mr. Roseboro was well known in the Denver com- 
munity. He operated concession stands at Tucker's Grove, Motts and McKenzie's camp- 
grounds, as well as a full-time garbage route in Gaston County. 

By the time Johnny arrived on the scene, the county had opened area conve- 
nience sites where the garbage was disposed of. 

He was on the job 29 consecutive years. At age 62 on September 28, 1995, he 
died in a highway accident in Cabarrus County. 



660 




Johnny Lee drives while Jerry and Buster load 

After the death of Roseboro, several teenage boys used trucks belonging to trustee 
Dwight Callaway, Jr., to remove garbage from the campground. 

In 1999, pickup was discontinued with Dumpsters being located on the grounds. 

ROCK SPRINGS METHODIST CAMPGROUND 



TENT OW NERS; 

WE WILL NOT BE PICKING UP GARBAGE AT THE TENTS THIS YEAR 

PLEASE TAKE GARBAGE TO DUMPSTER ON EAST SIDE OF CAMPGROUND 
( BESIDE MOBILE HOME ) 

THE TRASH CANS AROUND CAMPGROUND ARE PROVIDED FOR VISITORS 
PLEASE DO NOT PUT TENT GARBAGE IN THEM 

THANK YOU, 

TRUSTEES OF ROCK SPRINGS CAMPGROUND 



The above notice was sent to tenters prior to 
campmeeting 1999, informing them of the 
change. Also that year, the county consented to 
accept the garbage without a fee. 




661 




The Shack 

A favorite spot for both young and old 
is located on the west side of the camp- 
ground beside the public road. It is known 
as "the shack." When the camp is in ses- 
sion, the area around the shack is usually 
crowded with people craving a soft drink, 
cone of ice cream, hot dog, snowball, pop- 
corn or paddle ball. 

Until 1975, the shack included a full 
service restaurant serving three home- 
cooked meals each day. For those not tent- 
ing or visiting ministers, it offered the op- 
tion of a balanced meal against a sandwich. 

Rock Spring has not always had such a 
facility on the grounds. Early records of the 
trustees reveal laws prohibiting the sale of 
lemonade, watermelons and confections within a half-mile of the grounds. 

The first opportunity made available other than going to Denver to make a pur- 
chase was a lemonade stand just a few hundred feet east of the campground. 

It is speculated that in later years, the laws were relaxed somewhat on prohibit- 
ing sales being made on the grounds. 

Luther Lineberger made ice cream by hand at Gus Derr's Livery Stable and Black- 
smith Shop and offered the treat to camp-goers. This was located 1/2 mile east of the 
campground near the present Duke Power high voltage power lines. 

Prior to the present shack, which was built in 1948, a wood structure occupied 
the same location. On the rear of that building was a room where haircuts were avail- 
able during campmeeting. A wood-burning stove was used for cooking food for pub- 
lic sale. 

A Mr. Lewis from Gastonia was a frequent operator of the old shack in the 1930s 
and early 1940s. He hid some cash in the stove one year, forgetting it when he moved 
out after campmeeting. As a youngster, Ike Proctor and some other Denver teenagers 
were inside the building after campmeeting. They took the circular flat lids or burner 
eyes from the stove top and sailed them through the air like Frisbees, without notic- 
ing the cash inside. Mr. Lewis, before building a fire in the stove the next year, discov- 
ered what he had left, as well as realizing that profits had been better the previous 
year than he had thought. 

On several occasions, Mr. Lewis and Ab Lynch, who operated the shack in later 
years, erected a satellite shack on the Catawba-Burris Road side of the ground, near 
where the restrooms are now located. 

It was customary to offer shack rights to the highest bidder each July 4th at 
noon until 1957 when the trustees awarded operating rights to the newly-formed 
Denver V.F.D. as a means to acquire funds to support their community fire protection 



662 



efforts. Prior to then, the shack had always been operated by an individual. Bid prices 
in the 1940s and well into the 1960s were in the $400-$500 range. By the mid 1970s, 
rent had reached $1300-$ 1600. Rent for the 2001 session was $2500. 

Ab Lynch, who first operated the shack in 1946, added several small stands around 
the big building. One was a stand referred to as "The Monkey Stand." It offered im- 
ported novelties, balloons, fancy walking sticks, monkeys on a stick, pop matches, 
itching powder and many other unique items. He was also the first to offer snowballs 
and popcorn in two other stands. 

By today's national concession industry standards, Ab Lynch would be consid- 
ered an industry innovator. 

There were more stands. Two additional "joints" graced the grounds through 
the 1957 meeting. 

One was a small under-canvas jewelry stand where custom engraving was of- 
fered. The other offered photos made and developed on-site, which was rather un- 
usual. At that time, the few lucky enough to have what was called a Kodak had to 
purchase a roll of film and then mail it, most likely, to Jack Rabbit Co. in Spartanburg, 
SC, for developing. 

Actually what it was, was a Mug Joint, a name applied to such enterprises by the 
carnival industry. A family from Lenoir owned the jewelry and photo stands. They 
followed various carnival and fair routes during the remainder of the summer months. 
Still standing across from the campground shack at Proctor Road and Camp- 
ground Road is a small wood-framed building. It was a small county store once open 
full-time and operated by Jinks Goodson. Note the sheds on the building with swing- 
up doors. Goodson, as well as others, also sold merchandise during campmeetings 
from that location. By the 1950s, being the smart businessperson that he was, Ab 
Lynch rented the Goodson building and kept it closed to avoid competition at the big 
shack. 

Among those known to have operated the campground shack were: a Mr. Lewis 
of Gastonia, Ronnie Lineberger, Denver V.F.D., Johnny Harwell of Cornelius, Denver 
residents Ab Lynch, H.N. Little, Boyce Lynch, Terry Brotherton, Stacy's Restaurant, a 
local Softball tream and East Lincoln Band Boosters. 

There was a year in the late 1970s when trustees were unable to 
attract anyone to rent the shack. As a last resort, they contracted with 
an individual from the Lucia area to place vending machines at the 
shack, which proved very unpopular with the tenters, especially the 
young ones. 

The East Lincoln Optimist Club provided shack services for several 
years in the 1960s and early 1970s. For perhaps 15 years now, the East 
Ab Lynch Lincoln High School Band Boosters have rented the shack as a fund- 
raising project. Ladies of Maiden's Eastern Star served meals several years in the dining 
room of the shack. 

Just like most other things, the shack has undergone many changes. Concrete 
has replaced the sawdust floor. Very few novelties are sold. Gone are bottle drinks in a 

663 




wood tub that were cooled by chunks of block ice. The facility has transformed into a 
modern day concession stand. 

Removed from the scene are the outside joints. Gone are water guns, smoke 
bombs, pop matches. 

There are those that will say it's for the best, but I'm sure if the Dean of Shack 
Operators, Ab Lynch, was present today he'd just shake his head in disbelief. 

Trustees have discussed the possibility of constructing a new shack on the Cat- 
awba-Burris side of the campground as a result of the heavy traffic that presently 
exists on Campground Road, which creates a safety problem for the ground's small 
children. 






(Left) Original 
"Monkey Stand." 

Note balloon 
attached to left side 
of stand. The crude 
structure was about 
10' x 10' in size and 
was always packed 

with imported 
novelties. 




"Monkey Stand" as it appeared after 
being moved inside of shack 




E.J. "Jinks" and Done Goodson in front of building located at Campground Road and 

Will Proctor Street that also served as a "shack" during campmeeting. Note the shoeshine 

stand at right under shed that was only open during campmeeting. 



664 




Monday after campmeeting 1969. The customers 
are gone until next year. 



I'd like a cherry snowball, please!' 
1974 



665 



1974 Shack Photos 











<™S!" ?*■■* 












— ^^ht *^j i rTBp*" 




p 




n 


m, 








4h elderly gentleman waits to make a 
purchase 



Gary McCorkle and Murrey Sherrill at 
the shack 




The "Monkey Stand" moved inside the 

shack in 1974. Gary "Cowboy" Cornelius, 

customer sendee representative, on duty. 




Another satisfied customer 



666 




Camp Refreshment - Folks pause for a cooling drink at the shack, the camp's refreshment 

and food stand. Operated this session by East Lincoln Band Boosters, the stand offered hot 

dogs, country' ham biscuits, cold drinks and a variet}' of other goodies. Pictured (from left) 

are fack Wallace, Harold Harwell, Leigh Ann Perkins, Pat Perkins and Wendy Mayhew. 




1998 



667 





(Above) Nighttime at the shack 



1950s Shack Scene - note stacked cases 

of bottled drinks inside. Also at the 

time, almost everyone working inside 

wore a cap furnished by a bread 

company, as the young man in the 

photo has. 



668 



CA. Dellinger, Jr., enjoys 

an ice cold "dope, " as 

bottle drinks were called 

when the photo was 

made in 1959 




Why the Decline in New Campmeetings? 

Following the establishment of campmeetings such as Rock Spring, many "pro- 
tracted" meetings and "brush arbor meetings" were the thing with backwoods Chris- 
tians annually up through the Depression years. Even in the years of the 1940s and 
early 50s, a number of fundamental bodies attempted to revive an interest in the old- 
fashioned campmeeting. These include the Pentecostals and Assemblies of God. 

The invention of the canvas bigtop tent probably did as much as anything to 
bring about the demise of campmeeting. The traveling preachers found they could 
still attract the crowds with a minimum of labor and delay. 

Today the canvas tent has been replaced by the traveling evangelists with audi- 
toriums and coliseums. 



Rev. Daniel Asbury Never Attended Rock Spring 

Rev. Daniel Asbury, credited with founding campmeeting near Rehobeth Church 
that led to Rock Spring later on, never attended a campmeeting at Rock Spring. He 
died in 1825, five years prior to the move from Roby's to Rock Spring. 



669 



Chainlink Fence Added 

For many years, trustees have had ma- 
jor concerns for children's safety going to 
the shack along Campground Road. Prior 
to the 2001 campmeeting, a chain-link 
fence was added parallel with the highway 
to keep children from wandering into a very 
busy highway. Why did they wait so many 
years to take this precaution? As with all 
highways in the area, traffic was very light 
until recent years. Today, Campground 
Road is the third-heaviest traveled road in 
east Lincoln County. 




Campmeeting in July 

Rock Spring campmeetings have been held in August annually with one excep- 
tion when it was conducted in July. (The year this occurred was not given.) 

A Histon' of Balls Creek Campground 
Dr. f.E. Hodges -1929 



Cruel Toilet Prank 

Tent owners had a lock and key for their private 
toilet. Always it was kept locked and only used by 
family or visiting friends. 

A couple of devilish youths obtained a dozen 
cheap imported locks. They selected a different toi- 
let each day to double lock with one of their locks. 
Can you imagine the reaction of the tent owner ar- 
riving to use the toilet and not having a key for the 
added lock? Quite an inconvenience, to say the least. 

Names of double-locking individuals withheld 
to protect the guilty. 

At right is a double-locked toilet. 




"Pa, we're locked out! Who 
would do a thing like this?" 



670 



Paintings and Sketches 

Several artists have offered paintings and sketches of the arbor. Perhaps the best 
known of those is "Cotton" Ketchie. He is noted for capturing watercolor scenes of 
rural America. His studio, original watercolors and limited edition reproductions are 
all housed in Mooresville, NC. Below is his view of the Rock Spring arbor. 




wS^A&l^-^.-p^i 






750 signed and 

numbered 

Image size: 9 '/4" x 15' 

Trim size: 14 W X 19" 



Sketch (right) is displayed on the 

wall of Bank of America 

in Denver 

Artist unknown 








At left is a pencil sketch by fane Anderson Myers, a 

Lowesville native. She has studied with many 

noted artists. Her paintings are part of corporate 

and private collections throughout the United 

States and abroad. 

Studio: Tallahassee, Florida 



100 signed prints 



671 




Artist: A.E. Winston 
No information available 



4^f$j3§ «W^^l)eWei«ffi. 




A sketch that appeared on a t-shirt produced by Denver United Methodist Church 

in 2000 



672 




Megan Lynch of Denver painted the 
above in the late 1990s. Thirty-six 
prints were available to the public. 



Vw^osr^ 




673 










Sketch above was used on the cover of Rock Springs Lion Club Campmeeting book released 

in 1971. Artist unknown. 



At right is painting by George 

Pitsikoulis. Five hundred prints were 

reproduced. 




Twin Sisters Built Tent in 1971 

The twin sisters started their cabin with only hammers and a hand saw, and 
when they were nearly half finished, they learned the function of a carpenter's level. 
The structure leans a bit here and there, like a ship on the waves. 

"We knew we were supposed to use string when we started, so we put some 
string on a nail," said Mary Watson, 37. 

"But we didn't know what it was for, so we threw it away," said her sister, Ella 
Gardner, 37. 

What they came up with after about 35 days' worth of hard labor is a two-story, 



674 



'a rectangle sitting on a trapezoid," according 




rough-hewn structure which looks like 
to Mrs. Watson. A trapezoid because 
they lost about six inches somewhere 
on one end of the first floor. 

"It is not quite square - I don't 
know what happened to those six 
inches," Mrs. Watson said. 

"I can't imagine what hap- 
pened," Mrs. Gardner mused. 

But the minor defects of the 
cabin merely make it more rustic, a 
quality which is in high demand here 
at the Rock Spring Campground. 

The two women had been at- 
tending the week-long campmeeting 
ever since they were children. But 
they always visited the cabin (they are 
called tents by the campers) of a rela- 
tive. 

Both women and their families 
are Charlotteans now. Last summer they decided they needed a tent of their own and 
decided to build it themselves. Their husbands looked on bemused. 

Their first trial occurred when they were hauling a load of lumber horn a nearby 
sawmill. The load was too long for the trailer, their VW started fishtailing, and they 
"landed up in a cow pasture," Mrs. Watson recalled. Thereafter, they had the lumber 
delivered. 

The second problem, relates Mrs. 
Garnder, was exactly "how to make 
that first stick stand straight up..." 

Mrs. Watson had seen somebody 
"toenail" a stud, so she toe-nailed the 
first one successfully and was desig- 
nated project architect. 

Mrs. Gardner has experience as a 
dressmaker and knew how to use a 
piece of chalk, so she assumed the task 
of measuring and marking the boards 
for sawing. 

Once, a crew of prisoners work- 
ing on the road adjacent to the project 
looked on in amazement. The women were on the roof, attaching aluminum sheets. 

"One of them shouted, 'That's pretty good, but it ain't square,'" Mrs. Gardner 
allowed. 




675 



It all cost less than $500. 

Mrs. Gardner's son, David, assisted because they found that house-building goes 
a lot easier when there is one to hold, one to nail and one to eyeball it. 

Other than that, they were completely on their own, and the spectacle of two 
women building a cabin aroused considerable local curiosity. 

Someone showed them how to use a try-square, for instance, and another on- 
looker suggested that perhaps it would be easier to build one whole wall frame and 
raise it, rather than standing on a step ladder to nail on the top. 

"It'll do - that was our motto," the women said. 

Only one accident marred the en- 
terprise, and it wasn't serious. 

"We decided we wouldn't do any 
work on Sunday, because when you hit 
a nail up here, it echoes all over the 
county. But we were up here on Sunday 
and I said, 'I'll just put one nail in...'" 
Mrs. Gardner said. 

She came down with the hammer 
and smashed her thumb. It was, after all, 
a religious campground. "I didn't nail 
anymore on Sunday," Mrs. Gardner said. 

They built in the beds, as per camp- 
ground custom, put in plumbing, and 
built in their own cabinets. They also 
built a balcony from which they can 
watch the passing parade below. 




Construction in progress 



676 




(L-R) Man' Watson, Ella Gardner and David Gardner in front of completed tent 



677 



The Big Rock Spring 

The spring is located on one 
side of the public road which passes 
through the campground, and the 
tents are on the other side. It is at 
the foot of a steep, rocky hill and 
provides water for the whole camp 
site. According to legend, the 
spring was hewn from a rock by the 
Indians. 

There are several levels of ce- 
ment steps on the hill leading to 
the spring. Prior to cement days, 
there were wooden steps. Some 
people move to camp before the 
electricity is turned on, and it is 
necessary to "fetch" water from the 
spring in a pail. 

In the early years, the spring 
was uncovered. The first spring 
shed was four poles upright with a 
sloped roof. 

In the early 1940s, a brick 
building was constructed over the 
spring. An electric pump was added 
to pump water to the campground 
passway. Faucets were added at 
eight locations where tenters could 
fill their buckets. 




This brick house covers the famous rock spring for 
which the Rock Spring Campground was named 

(Below) "Little Jay" digs a bucket of 

cool water from the famous rock spring 

in 1970 




Ada Aiken totes two buckets of water 
from the big rock spring 




678 




£9 



© 

a; 



679 




Kim Moore fills a bucket in 1970 from one of 

the eight faucets located between the two rows 

of tents prior to running water inside tents 




Concrete steps to spring after 
safety handrail was added 




Jan Sigmon goes down steep hill to 

"fetch" a pail of water from the 

spring in 1970 



Water Tank 

Before water pipes were installed around the grounds, water was pumped into a 
reservoir. The reservoir was located across the road from the spring, the site of the 
present day Mozon Little tent. Tenters were able to get their water supply from several 
faucets attached to the reservoir. The storage facility was covered by a shed designed 
on the arbor's style. 



680 





(L-R) Ruby Cherry Graham, 
Annie Long Barkley, Libby 

Graham Drapean and 
unknown in front of water 

resenvir shed in 1948 



Wanda Graham Freeland in 

front of shed and resenvir in 

1946 



Spring Flow Slows 

In early November 2001, Jimmy Mundy asked if I had visited the spring at the 
campground lately. My reply was no. He proceeded to tell me how the flow of water 
from the overflow pipe had slowed. 

On Thanksgiving morning, along with Ike Proctor, I went to the spring. I esti- 
mate the flow was less than 30% what I had observed my entire life. 

On July 2002, again Ike and I went to the spring. At that time, even though the 
spring hole was filled with water, I could only see a trickle of water coming through 
the overflow pipe. 

In my lifetime, I have never heard anyone comment that the rock spring is 
getting weak. 

A big part of the Piedmont was in a drought never before remembered in this 
area. Many cities and counties were under mandatory water restrictions. 

The drought was in its fifth year. The N.C. Water Resources Division in Raleigh 
revealed in July 2002 that 80% of monitored streams were less than 10% of their 
normal flow for the time of year. Apparently their studies were accurate because the 
rock spring was certainly in the 10% or less category. 



681 



The U.S. Drought Monitor, an index assembled by federal agencies earlier in the 
summer, placed a kidney-shaped chunk of the Piedmont in exceptional drought, the 
highest of five levels. That area just east and north of Charlotte extends to the Vir- 
ginia line, and Rock Spring Campground is directly in the designated area. 

It was stated that the Piedmont's deficit was nearly a year's worth of rain, which 
is somewhat self-explanatory when it comes to the reason the rock spring is so weak. 



i ■ • . r. - -: 

I: . r ; r ~ 




' 



" 




w 










Photo shows overflow pipe from spring at a trickle September 20, 2002 



The Mud Spring 

On the outer west side of the campground are three additional springs, the most 
noted being what was called "the mud spring." It is encased in a cement box. 

Why was it called the mud spring? 

"I never did see a drop of water come out of that spring that wasn't muddy," my 
mother told me in March of 1995. 



682 
















The Mud Spring - Above photo was made September 20, 2002. Note the low water level in 
bottom of spring box. Apparently the drought had also affected the mud spring. 



Toilets 

Over 200 toilets were located on the campground, each one belonging to an 
individual tent owner. In the 1970s they were removed, as many tent owners were 
beginning to add indoor facilities, with the arrival of county water. 




683 



Once, it was a common sight to see some- 
one making the trip to empty the "potty," or as 
some old folks called it, "the slop jar." 

The photo on the previous page was made 
in 1971. For over 20 years, I wondered who the 
lady was, as the source that provided the photo 
had no idea. 

During campmeeting 1995, Wilma Corrihier 
of China Grove confessed. 

The first public toilet was built in 1915. Four 
units, one on each side of the grounds, all being 





'four holers," were constructed. 




A four-holer 



A single-seater 




In 1974, trustees rented Porta-Johns (left) 
for public use, and used them for Ave years. 

In 1979, a public facility was built (below) 
on the east side of the grounds, and a vacant 
room at the rear of the shack was converted to a 
public restroom. 




684 




Toilet replica built for the 1994 Bicentennial Celebration. Note corn cobs available should 
they be needed. Where's the Sears and Roebuck catalog? 



685 



Privy Progress 

In late 1994, the Census Bureau reported that over 99% of U.S. households had 
indoor potties. 

In 1940, 35% of Americans were freezing their fannies off every winter sitting in 
outhouses. Black widow spider bites have declined rapidly since 1940, particularly in 
the southeastern United States, where one of their favorite habitats was the underside 
of privy seats. 

Wonder how many black widow attacks were endured by the Rock Spring faith- 
ful while seated on the throne of one of the old outhouses? 



686 



SW'WY, 1 " "W*^ ■■*»vaM ■>■■ Tjrv'.N.- 






■g ■■ '■ '■ ' ■■mPpMWW'WW 





MllCs 




We will deliver fresh bread, rolls and 
cake at Eph Killian's Store, Denver, N. C, 
every morning during Rock Springs Camp 
Meeting. Why bake your bread, rolls and 
cakes when you can get them fresh every 
morning? If you have never used Electric- 
Maid bread, rolls and cake, now is your time 
to try them and be convinced. 



IECIMC-MS! 

Ltncolnton, N. C. 




J 



Above was circulated on grounds about 1925 to Rock Spring tenters 



687 




Marker Pays Tribute to Campground Devotee 

Family members say Georgianna Howard lived for the first week in August and 
the annual Rock Spring Campmeeting. 

With this in mind, her family decided 
after her death in 1987 that a fitting trib- 
ute to her memory would be a stone marker 
at the campground. 

The monument was dedicated Sun- 
day, August 6, 1989, at 11 a.m. at the ar- 
bor. 

Granddaughter JoAnna Palumbo ex- 
plained why a stone monument was cho- 
sen: "We wanted something that wouldn't 
take a lot of maintenance. One day we rode 
to about three different places, just look- 
ing at them. People think that you can just 
go out and just throw up something, but 
you don't. But that's why we chose that 
structure. It's more durable." 

"The memorial is in a straight line, "as the crow flies," horn Grandma Howard's 
tent to the arbor. We thought she'd rather have something at this campground as 
anywhere because she was so devoted to it," her daughter Leona Cherry said. "She's 

never missed a time." 

From 1901 until her death, she only 
missed one campmeeting, and that was be- 
cause the campground was closed due to a 
polio epidemic. 

"She was like a fixture here; she looked 
forward to this every year. The minute she had 
to move on the ending Sunday, she started 
thinking about the next year. It was really her 
life. She loved it," JoAnna said. 

Grandma Howard had a special talent for 
entertaining the people that came by her tent 
for a glass of tea and some conversation. 

One of her 30 grandchildren, Harold 
Howard, Jr., explains why people were fasci- 
nated. "She was really amazing that she could 
remember things from 40 and 60 years ago, 
Georgianna Howard just like that," he said, snapping his fingers. 

Leona explains that her mother had a way of "predicting" the future. "She used 
to tell fortunes with a coffee cup. She'd say, T don't want to tell you what I see in here 
because you're not going to like it. Looks like you're going to have a falling out with 




688 



a black curly-headed man.' She'd just tell anything," Leona said, while other family 
members laughed along with her. 

There was just one way to make the good-natured Howard matriarch mad at 
you. Don't dare be a member of the Howard family and not come by or call at camp- 
meeting or on her birthday. 

JoAnna said, "If you didn't show up at campmeeting or if you didn't show up at 
the birthday dinner, you were on the 'bad' list." 

But, they say, you didn't stay on that particular list for long. 

Leona spoke for the family when she said how her mother would have felt about 
the campground monument. "Oh, she'd love the monument - 1 know she'd love it." 

NOTE: After giving a brief history of the campground, the inscription reads: 
"Because of her love and dedication for Rock Spring Campground Meeting Ground, 
this monument has been erected in loving memory of Georgianna Howard 1889- 
1987 by family and friends." 



Old Tents Fade from Scene 

The tents that existed when I was a child at Rock Spring are almost gone. A 
recent count revealed that less than 25 tents stand that were present as recent as 
1970. The older ones continue to be demolished each year to make way for new 
structures. 

One of the most recent to go was No. 127 (pictured below) that was torn down 
in 2000. I mention that tent because it has special meaning to me, as it was built and 
owned by my great-grandfather, William Henry Brotherton (1840-1904). 




689 




Look at those duds! 



Campmeeting Dress 

In days gone by, espe- 
cially on Big Sunday tenters 
were expected to "dress up." 
To make a long story short, 
wear your best. The photo to 
the left is a classic example 
of what was expected of the 
men. In this 1940 photo, Zeb 
Brotherton (left) and his 
brother Frances had broke 
out their Sunday best. This 
attire created the image nec- 
essary to be considered a true 
Southern Gentleman. It 
would be interesting to count 
the number of full suits be- 
ing worn during Big Sunday 
at a present day gathering. 
Probably none would be 
found. 

The ladies also displayed 
their finest. It was custom to 
start making new "hocks" for 
next year just as soon as one 
campmeeting concluded. It 
was a must that they be seen 
on Big Sunday at preaching 
with hat, gloves and hand- 
bag. 

To go a step further back 

in time, the elderly ladies had 

their Sunday bonnet, which 

was quite acceptable for going 



to the arbor. 

The fancy garments have given way to a more casual style of dress: shorts, jeans, 
pant-suits, slacks or whatever one has. 

On Big Sunday you can still find a few men dressed in white shirt and tie, but 
very seldom are coats included. 



690 



Cook Sheds 

Those attending campmeeting have always brought with them the fat of the 
land. Great boxes and baskets of cakes, pies, jams, preserves and jellies were brought 
in wagons in the early days and fill the automobiles of today. Cooking was done over 
the open fires at the rear of tents where hung huge pots of beef and pork. Great pans 
of frying eggs and slabs of country ham and sausage rested on the glowing coals. 

Some 150 years ago, "cook sheds" were added to the equipment. They were 
constructed by placing four poles in the ground to support a roof, and placing a few 
boards on the windward side. The sheds were placed about ten feet to the rear of the 
tents, and afforded some protection from the dust and weather to both fires and 
sheds. 

Later, as woodstoves gradually replaced the open fires, a shed was connected to 
the rear of most tents for cooking. Two such cook sheds still exist today. See tent No. 
183 and 191. 




Tent No. 191 cook siwd 



Tent No. 183 cook shed 

Cooking utensils required for outdoor cook- 
ing included pots and pans with small legs. Note 
leg and indented lid where hot coals were placed 
on frying pan. The utensils pictured were used 
by a black cook named Isaac in the late 1920s at 
Rock Spring, where he cooked for Lihue and 
Minnie Little. 

I presently have the utensils in my posses- 
sion. 

Tern' Brotlierton 




691 





With the arrival of woodstoves, a smokestack exhaust system was required. Some 
installed the stovepipe up through the roof (left), while others placed it through the 
back wall (right). 

Modern Way of Cooking 

Long gone are the open fire, 
woodstoves and smokestacks. Today you'll 
find hot plates, gas stoves and an occasional 
microwave. Most cooking is now done at 
home and transported to the grounds. 



->"■■■ 


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SB* - ■■ 






^ ,.„ 


^"^piH 


EL. , : ,— i 





692 



Quality Bologna Sandwiches One More Time 

Upon being released from the Army after WWII, Robert "Rob" Nixon built and 
opened the most modern establishment between Charlotte and Newton at the inter- 
section of NC-16 and NC-73 (now Triangle Circle.) It was called a "fillin' station" and 
was the first known place in Lincoln County that produced hot store-bought sand- 
wiches. Those bologna sandwiches soon became famous throughout the area and 
were popular until his death in the early 1970s. 

The demand for hot bologna sandwiches had been established and Harold 
Howard, Sr., added such at his Phillips 66 station about two miles north of Rob's 




Barry "Hoss" Lucky cooks five at a time 



Junior Howard (second from left) does 

the fixin' offering of either mustard or 

mayonnaise 



place. Upon Harold's death, a void was left in east Lincoln. 

On Wednesday night, August 9, 1995, at tent No. 107, Barry Lucky, GaryMcCorkle, 
Junior Howard and Terry Brotherton revived the tradition of quality bologna sand- 
wiches being available in east Lincoln. They prepared sandwiches for over 200 friends 
and neighbors. The meal was topped off with a real Coke in the 8 oz. returnable 
bottle. 



Solid Wall on Rear of Arbor 

The outside of the arbor to the rear of 
the pulpit at one time had a solid board wall. 
To allow for better circulation, it was removed 
in the earlv 1950s. 




693 




Oak Tree in Passway 

Ever go barefooted while at campmeeting as a 
youth? If you did, most likely there was a dark night 
you can remember when you stumped a toe on the roots 
of a big oak tree that stood in the passway. It was lo- 
cated in front of present day tent No. 199. Fire destroyed 
the tree. 




Memorial Swing 

For 1995, the family of longtime campmeeting 
devotee Mamie Sherrill (1896-1993) placed a glider 
swing in her memory near the top of the spring hill. 




Cross Erected 

"Little" Jay Sigmon erected a cedar cross on the 
spring hill during the 1995 campmeeting. 



694 



New Structure 

During the summer of 1987, 
Johnny Sigmon, with help from 
friends, constructed a new structure 
on the campground. 

The framework reflects the ar- 
chitecture of the arbor. Constructed 
of red oak, the logs were handhewn 
and placed together with wooden 
pegs. It houses two picnic tables built 
the previous year. 

"Hewing the logs was a lot 
harder than I thought it would be," 
said Sigmon in June of 1987. "All to- 
tal it took me about 400 hours to 
complete, but it was for a worthwhile 
cause." 




Johnny Sigmon takes a "dope" break during 
construction of the picnic shelter 





Construction nears completion 



Completed shelter 



695 



Picnic Tables and Water Fountains 

Stone picnic tables and water fountains were constructed near the arbor during 
the summer of 1986. Dwight Callaway, Jr., sits on one of the new tables prior to that 
year's meeting. 





Camping Near the Spring 

During the 1950s and into the 1960s, it was a com- 
mon sight at Rock Spring to see a small trailer-style 
camper set up under a big oak tree near the spring. Grier 
and Ollie Jenkins of Gastonia owned a tent but selected 
the spring site to set up camp because it was cooler 
than their tent. 

Jeremy Jenkins, grandson - 1995 



First Preachers' Tent Purchased 

It was agreed upon by the board of trustees in 1858 that a parsonage tent was 
needed for the preachers. Tent No. 21 on the north line was purchased. 



696 



Remember Mumbley Peg? 

Not many years ago, most young 
men carried a pocket knife, most likely 
a double blade Barlow. While at 
campmeeting, this knife was used for 
playing a game very seldom engaged 
in elsewhere. Mumbley Peg it was 
called. 

How was it played? Just open the 
blades with the short one fully opened 
and the long blade open at 90 degrees. 

All tents had a board bench that 
extended from the tent to a shed post. 
The two players were seated facing 
each other, straddle of the bench 
about four feet apart. Place the point 
of the big blade in the bench and flip 





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Ideal Mumbley Peg benches 



into the air with your index finger. If it landed with the small point in the bench, it 
was 100 points; both points in the board scored 75 points; big point in the board, end 
of knife not touching the board, 50 points; big blade in the board and end of knife 
touching board, 25 points. Keep flipping until you miss sticking a blade in the bench. 
When one missed, the challenger was allowed to flip until missing. 

If the knife landed on its back with the big blade sticking up, it was called sail- 
boats, kind of like a foul ball - flip again. 

Until the first campground fire, almost every bench could be found with two 
chiseled-out holes where the game had been played. Knife-point markers usually cov- 
ered most of the board bench. 

Probably the game was discontinued because the young men of today don't 
carry pocket knives, which were a necessary part of a young man's bib overalls or blue 
jeans less than 25 years ago. The name comes from "mumble the peg" and dates back 
to 1627. 



Carved Walking Sticks 

Another use for the old Barlow knife was for carving walking sticks. A young 
man would go to the nearby woods and cut a green sapling about 3 1/2' long. The 
knife blade was used to cut rings around the sapling about one inch apart. As the bark 
was green, it was very easy to peel off every other ring of bark and create an official 
Rock Spring walking stick. It was only done at campmeeting. 



S& 



697 



Law and Order 

In the early days of campmeeting, trustees appointed a Vigilante Committee, 
sometimes with as many as 50 members, to keep the peace. Once the campground 
was incorporated, the mayor and aldermen had authority to appoint a marshal or 
sometimes it was called the Intendant of Police. In later years, the Lincoln County 
High Sheriff was selected as the campground marshal. 

As recent as the 1950s and 60s, the sheriff depended on area constables and 
auxiliary deputies. Among those were local residents Deputy Joe King, Sr., and Con- 
stables Key Howard and Wilson Graham. In 1961, the county sheriff's department 
had only one vehicle for the entire department's use. 

By the late 1960s, additional auxiliary deputies were on the scene. Among those 
once again were local residents Richard Sigmon, Troy Brotherton, Henry Hester and 
Roy Lee Abernathy. 

Today, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department has total jurisdiction for enforc- 
ing state laws during the annual campmeeting. Usually a dozen or more deputies are 
on the grounds. 

Offenders are promptly dealt with, resulting in removal from the grounds or a 
trip to the county jail, depending on the violation. 

There has never been a crime of serious nature committed at Rock Spring Camp- 
ground. However, nearby Balls Creek was the scene in 1881 of a serious occurrence. 
Pink Abernathy was fatally stabbed by June Blalock in a brawl. The element of self- 
defense saved Blalock from a more severe sentence than two years in the state prison. 



On-Site Trials 

Trials at Rock Spring for violations of laws and rules originated at the beginning 
of campmeeting and continued into the early 1960s. Well into the 1940s, the camp- 
ground mayor conducted the trial and determined the sentence. When this system 
was discontinued, a county Justice of the Peace took over as judge and jury. 

Manuel Prim, who operated a country store on Unity Church Road and a camp- 
meeting tenter, was the last to actually conduct court on the grounds in 1962. 



Housing the Rowdy 

The rowdy of the day was one of the major problems facing Rock Spring from 
the beginning. There was always a little scrapping, noisiness during the services, and 
not responding to the curfew that were just a few of the acts of misbehavior. 

A jailhouse was built on the grounds. Actually it was called the "calaboose," a 
word that dates back to 1792. 

698 



Whether offenders served a sentence in 
this facility or perhaps it was a place to house 
the offender until they could be taken to the 
county jail at Lincolnton is not known. 

The building stood well into the 1950s, 
but its use had been discontinued. It was 
about 10 feet by 10 feet in size. It had one 
window and a door, and a dirt floor. 

(Right) Replica of Rock Spring calaboose 




Baptizing Under the Arbor 

The three children of Mr. and Mrs. Ron Best were baptized under the arbor dur- 
ing campmeeting, probably the first to be baptized under the arbor. Dylan was bap- 
tized in 1992, Emily in 1996 and Melonie in 1998. 




The Rev. Ted Hendrix baptizes Emily as her family watches 



699 



Bench Decorations 

Every tent requires some type of fabric against the front wall to serve as decora- 
tion. It's likely the custom originated many years ago when tenters often wore their 
Sunday best. With the cloth placed above the front shed's bench, it protected the 
tenter's clothing from being soiled when leaning back against the wall. The fabrics 
have changed as the times changed. No longer can Confederate flags be found out 
front of tents, as was the case in 1964 at tent No. 47. Prints, plaids and beachtowels 
are the proper decoration, as is noted at right where Martha Edwards was seated in 
front of her tent during 1993 campmeeting. 





700 



New Hymnals Purchased 

New Cokesbury hymnals were purchased 
for Rock Spring July 21, 1990, at a cost of 
$1,909.63. Purchase funds were acquired from 
those desiring to make a donation in memory 
of a loved one. 




Song Books Given in 

Lee Cherry 

Velmarie D. Nixon, Godmother 

Sadie Derr Martin 

Paul Wesley Sigmon 

Bertie & Lester Little 

Wendell Sigmon 

Etta & Frank Sigmon 

Mr. & Mrs. T.H. Cherry 

Jackie Cherry 

Mildred Crawley 

Forrest Ross 

Bill Smith 

Karen J. Smith 

Brian Perkins 

Jacob Michael 

Joe Ross 

Eugene Cherry 

Estelle Sigmon 

Bertie Little & Paul Sigmon 

Abe & Frances Lynch 

Arthur Miller 

Mrs. Anna Wilkinson 

Mr. & Mrs. O.M. Abernathy, Sr. 

Mr. Joe Barker 

Neal & Mary Sifford 

Ralph & Jesse Sherrill 

Mr. & Mrs. June A. McConnell 

Christy Michelle Teeney 

Mr. & Mrs. James P. Sigmon 



Memory 

by Susan Nixon Kuenzel 

by Miriam Nixon 

by Charles & Ameilia Killian 

by Mary Sigmon 

by Mary Sigmon 

by Mary Sigmon 

by Mary Sigmon 

by Mr. & Mrs. Charles Dellinger 

by Harvey & Martha Cherry 

by Harvey & Martha Cherry 

by Ann S. Heavner 

by Ann S. Heavner 

by Ann S. Heavner 

by Ann S. Heavner 

by Ann S. Heavner 

by Ann S. Heavner 

by John Cherry 

by Van & Scottie Banker 

by Kay Bates 

by Mr. & Mrs. Boyce Lynch 

by Jan McCall 

by Alda & Agnes Reynolds 

by Pauline A. Bolenhamer 

by Harry & Pinkie Taylor 

by James & Barbara Sifford 

by James & Barbara Sifford 

by W.C. Harris 

by The Family 

bv Laura S. Gilleland 



701 



Mr. & Mrs. M. Luther Sigmon 

Mr. J. Glenn Sigmon 

Mrs. Authelia B. Sigmon 

Latt G. Gilleland, Jr. 

Ada Dellinger 

Mable Reynolds 

Ida Aiken 

Kenneth G. Mundy 

J.P. Mundy 

Margaret Mundy 

Mr. Carson & Bessie Reynolds 

Zeb & Beulah Little 

Mr. & Mrs. Robert Block 

Amy Little 

Willie Little 

John Killian 

Mr. & Mrs. John G. Thompson 

Doyle Holdsclaw 

Duck Lutz 

Florence Talbert 

James Hobbs (2) 

James Hobbs 



by Laura S. Gilleland 

by Laura S. Gilleland 

by Laura S. Gilleland 

by Laura S. Gilleland 

by Mr. & Mrs. Pete Crow 

by Mr. & Mrs. Pete Crow 

by Mr. & Mrs. Pete Crow 

by Carolyn Mundy 

by Carolyn Mundy 

by Carolyn Mundy 

by Carolyn Mundy 

by Eddie & Brenda Black 

by Eddie & Brenda Black 

by Eddie & Brenda Black 

by Eddie & Brenda Black 

by Eddie & Brenda Black 

by Eddie & Brenda Black 

by Bill, Betty & Chad Holdsclaw 

by Bill, Betty & Chad Holdsclaw 

by Ford E. Mayhew 

by Bobby Hobbs 

by Ira Hobbs 




Flagpole Erected 

Never had the American flag officially been flown 
on Rock Spring Campground until Sunday, August, 7, 
1994. 

The 28-foot pole was put in place the previous day 
so it would be ready for Sunday's Bicentennial Celebra- 
tion. 

Hoisted to the top that Sunday afternoon was the 
present day American flag, along with the Betsy Ross flag. 
The Ross flag was determined appropriate, as it was the 
official flag of the 13 colonies in 1794 when that first 
campmeeting was held near Rehobeth Church. 

The pole, prior to being erected at Rock Spring, had 
been used at a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. 
Due to a new landscape theme, the pole was removed 
and purchased for $200. 

Bill Isenhour, a local welding shop owner, con- 
structed the pole and base. 



702 



The Colored Cooks are Cone 

In order to provide a real summer vacation for the lady folks without cooking 
chores, some families employed a colored cook to prepare meals during campmeet- 
ing. This disappeared from the scene in the early 1970s. The last two families to use 
the cooks were B.S. Sherrill, Sr., who had for many years employed Bud Forney, and 
Gabriel Sigmon, who secured the services of Mack Nixon. 



Gabe Sigmon enjoying Mack 
Nixon's fried chicken 




Arbor Renovations 

During the 1991 session, tenters were invited to make a contribution of $100 in 
honor or memory of a friend or loved one. The proceeds were to be used for arbor 
renovations and the construction of new pews. Upon the donation, they were en- 
titled to one of the existing pews. 

The program was well received, with many tenters jumping at the opportunity 

to assist with the 

project, as well as the 

chance to have their 

own piece of history 

from Rock Spring 

Campground. 

It is not known 

when the old pews were 

built, but it is for certain 

they were not original. 

The first seats under the 

arbor were split logs rest- 
ing on another piece of 

timber or perhaps a rock. 
Two plaques were 

Pictured are the plaques in memory (right) and in honor (left) 





703 



secured with engraved plates listing names in whose memory or honor contributions 
were made. The plaques are displayed under the arbor on posts in front of the altar 
during selected campmeeting worship services. 



Gene & Nancy Ross 

Vivian Sherrill Caldwell 

Louise Thompson Bolick 

Frances Kiser 

Kirby Dellinger, Sr. 

Richard F. Sigmon, Sr. 

Troy & Margaret Dellinger 

W.C. & Pauline Reynolds 

Sarah Spangler 

Ethel Sigmon 

Roy & Sarah Nixon 

Elizabeth Callaway 

Sandi Armstrong 

Dennis & Virginia Dellinger 

Annette Lawing 



In Honor Of 

Virginia Edwards Abernathy 

"My Kids" 1979-1991 

Annie Fay & Carl J. Nelson 

Agnes Cline 

Mr. & Mrs. Ernest McConnell 

Mr. & Mrs. Yates Wilkinson 

Leslie, Courtney & Taylor Ewing 

Clifton, Susan, Kathy & Miriam 

Kirby, Jr. & Mary Ellen Dellinger 

Bill Ballard 

Bobby K. Howard 

John Christopher 

Nell Howard 

Joe & Jesse Holbrooks 

Betty & Harold Howard 



J. Glenn Sigmon 
Authelia Luther Sigmon 
Addie Edwards Sigmon 
James Pinkney Sigmon 
Zettie Ballard Sigmon 
Billy Harkey 
Ann P. Sifford 
Vic Sigmon 
Smith M. Brotherton 
Nelson Kiser 
James G. Hobbs 
Charlie Proctor 
Thelma Proctor 
Rev. Henry Asbury 
Vaness Barker 
Coley Sigmon 
Kenneth Mundy 
Dwight Callaway, Sr. 
Minnie Rudsill Keever 
Sadie Derr Martin 



In Memory Of 

Grace Howard Smith 
Gabe & Estelle Sigmon 
Inez Rudsill Abernathy 
Lester F. Abernathy 
Hazleen Howard Cherry 
Olin & Jean Moore 
David G. Stroupe 
Arthur Guinn Miller 
Ann (Granny) McCall 
Robert P. Asbury 
Ralph & Jesse Sherrill 
Luther M. Rudsill 
Laura Ward Rudsill 
Joe L. Barker 
Ruth N. Barker 
Neal & Mary Sifford 
Frances B. Dellinger 
Manson & Lillian Jones 
Mr. & Mrs. Fred McCall 
George & Bessie Michael 



704 



Floyd Howard 
Sadie Mundy Killian 
Sadie Derr Martin 
Rolland M. Thompson, Sr. 
Wilvie Thompson Howard 
Fred C. Thompson 
Jackie Elizabeth Cherry 
Christine Abernathy Jones 
Mr. & Mrs. Harry M. Lowe 
E. Lorraine Dellinger 
Mr. & Mrs. W.L. Sigmon, Sr. 
Mr. & Mrs. Seab Howard, Sr. 
Mr. & Mrs. Hartsell Little 
Wilburn & Lottie Sherrill 
Mr. & Mrs. John A. Sigmon 
Carl & Annie Mcintosh 
Mr. & Mrs. B.S. Sherrill, Sr. 
Mr. & Mrs. Frances Brotherton 
Mr. & Mrs. Marion O. Proctor 
Abner & Hattie Goodson 
Mattie Ruth & Marion Ramsey 
Henry P. & Mary B. Dellinger 
Eston "Jay" & Ellen B. Nixon 
Mr. & Mrs. Frank C. Thompson 
Grover & Laura L. McCall 
R.P. Asbury 
Roland Ballard, Sr. 



Catherine Asbury Abernathy 

Luther A. Abernathy 

Robert W. Cline, Sr. 

Annie King Brown 

Maude Crowell Jones 

Harvey A. Jonas, Sr. 

Susan Jonas Jenkins Chapman 

Ida & L.A. Howard Dick & 

Chattie Howard 

Bob Howard 

Cloy & Haster Howard 

Hugh & Monroe Ward 

Mack & Mary Saunders 

Mary Christopher 

Donald & Virginia VanDerwerken 

Fred & Fannie Little 

Robert O. & Maggie Mundy 

Patsy Abernathy Boyd 

Mr. & Mrs. John Sigmon 

Ted Broach 

Joe & Estus King 

George & Nettie Smith 

Mr. & Mrs. Pat L. Proctor 

H.N. Little 

Sinclair & Janie B. Killian 

Carson & Bessie Reynolds 



&2 



^^e- 



Campmeeting Hymnody 

At early campmeetings, many songs were composed and passed down through 
generations at other campmeetings by circuit riders and backwoods evangelists. 

Insofar as song texts are concerned, campmeeting songs have left no visible im- 
print on present day Methodist hymnody The music itself is quite another matter. 
Some of the tunes have reappeared in church hymnals. Among the earlier hymnals 
used at campmeeting were: 

HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS, Stitch Mead, Richmond, VA - 1805 

SPIRITUAL SONG BOOK, David B. Mints, NC 

THE PILGRIM SONGSTER, Thomas S. Hinde, OH - 1810 

METHODIST POCKET HYMN BOOK - 1830 

CHRISTIAN HARMONY, NH - 1805 

Perhaps the best known campmeeting songbook of the early 1800s was THE 



705 



PILGRIM SONGSTER. Between 1810 and 1828, the combined circulation of its three 
western editions was about 10,000, a large printing in those days. 

Among the favorite hymn composers were John and Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, 
John A. Granade, Caleb Taylor and John Newton. Their music flouished until about 
the start of the Civil War, when the old-fashioned campmeetings began to decrease in 
number. 

It's doubtful that Rock Spring had hymnals at the beginning. In fact, no men- 
tion is even made of music until near the beginning of the 1900s. Speculation is that 
songs were "listed" by the preacher or a layman and sung by the congregation with- 
out instrumental accompaniment. Due to economic conditions in this area, which 
was nothing more than backwoods, there would certainly have been a scarcity of 
books. Perhaps the preacher possessed a hymnal and did line out the words, which 
were then sung by the people until they could repeat them from memory. 

The COKESBURY HYMNAL has been the official songbook at Rock Spring for 
many generations and quite possibly was the first such purchased in quantity. 



Pump Organ in Place, Pump Organ Removed, 
Pump Organ Returned 

A pump organ was added for the worship service in 1890. Most likely it was on 
loan from the parlor of a local resident. It displeased some of the elderly worshippers 
and was removed. 

In 1893, the organ was back in the pulpit for campmeeting. There is no informa- 
tion as to the year the piano replaced the parlor organ. 

The first record of a local church having music was also in the 1890s. Between 
1895 and 1900, Dr. J. A. Sherrill, a Rock Spring trustee, loaned his parlor organ to Mt. 
Pleasant Methodist Church and paid for lessons for a local lady to learn to play it. 

Of course, the early settlers of the area did have music, but it would have been 
considered "sinful" for Grandpa to have brought his fiddle to church services under 
the arbor, even if he had played "Amazing Grace." 



I'm in the Campmeeting Way 

One original song has been written about campmeeting by a local resident. "Little" 
Jay Sigmon, while assisting with the placement of straw under the arbor prior to the 
1994 session, made the statement, "I'm in the campmeeting way." He took the state- 
ment and composed a song by that title. A copy of his original writing of the song is 
on the next page. 

706 



"The GaK-hrccs ore. sw<ttj/M* 

Children, arc f>\atAi*to 

ftno p&oplc arc Wo,/ K t'*i« a 1 1 around.. 

Xf's +'imts For CuAoH&r mcc-l-mo, 
P\nA sooti we w/// be qrcci'tAG. 
Po\Kz oaf a+-Hie o/o( Q.a**f(*r6und , 
Charus 
^ri /a/ a. &ourr\pmee.r»< rkuA 

JTwisK JC coh/4 P- e< -/ /.,*£, -f^ls cv&rvdcuj. 
'Xw jn a camp m&ff'iAjA yJnu- ** 

"The Sio/(Jas, <*r£ a// h&ntfi*ia 
Thfiiarc f>rc*.ch')Mc* fht\ QdSfd* all aroudg 

£h)lMor\ arc wa.(fc»*^ 

All ove./ ^-his, holUwe4 qr<«W. 

3e5«s /s*H-«- <^nsh/er 

-to Li /e Jw*y *******" 

r)Nd LjOiA mwsf be. S6V&J JS ^^-~ 

The Ute eLrtdtaugA.te' tl,uc4*l 

is >Jh«r wc art all «P/^ a^ 3"««i *a^ pr<Nxk.T*r\K**j- 



707 



They Keep Coming Back 

It has often been said that once you attended campmeeting, you'll be hooked 
for life. Photos below point out the truth in that statement. Lacy Cashion Little is 
pictured about 1930, then nearly fifty years later in 1979. 





New Shack Built 

The present shack replaced a wooden-framed version in 1948. It was not used 
until 1949, due to a polio epidemic and cancellation of campmeeting for 1948. 



Cold Day at Rock Spring 




It definitely wasn't 
ideal campmeeting 
weather the day this 
photo was taken. 



708 



Presenting the Colors 

Members of Lincolnton's Chapter 53 of the Disabled American Veterans attended 
campmeeting 2001 and 2002 on Saturday afternoon prior to the "Big Sing," conduct- 
ing the official flag-raising ceremony. 





Veteran Camper 

Jimmy Howard (front) of Florence, SC, always a regular at campmeeting. 




709 



Old Bell, New Tower 

Originally, with construction of the arbor, a bell was placed atop the structure in 
the early 1830s. The ringing of that bell during the annual meetings signaled the 
tenters worship service was nearing. 

In the mid 1970s, the bell was destroyed by vandals. Its replacement lacked the 
quality of metal the old bell contained and could only be heard for several hundred 
yards, as compared to the original that was easily heard half a mile away in downtown 
Denver. 

Some 35 years ago, Bill Hager, a native of Iredell County and campmeeting vet- 
eran, lived near a closed one-room school in Michigan with an old bell. He located the 
owner of the building, a lady who agreed to sell the bell for fifty dollars. Her offer was 
accepted and Hager telephoned his wife, Dot, to bring the money for payment. 

Upon Mrs. Hager's arrival, the bell owner said she would rather have a washing 
machine with rinse tubs than fifty dollars. Mrs. Hager told her that she had an al- 
most-new Maytag with two tubs, and the trade was made. 

The Hagers later moved back to North Carolina near Mooresville, bringing the 
bell from Michigan with them. The bell remained a fixture on their family farm. 

On Sunday, August 4, 1996, Hager was visiting with Pinkie and Harry Taylor. He 
mentioned his desire to donate a bell of at least 130 years of age from an old school in 
Naggs Bridge, Michigan. Trustee Van Barker was summoned and obtained informa- 
tion to present other trustees. 

On Wednesday, August 7, 1996, Dwight Callaway, Jr., Van Barker and Jim Sherrill 




Nagg's Bridge School, 1882. Note tower that housed bell that's now at Rock Spring. 



710 



were at Hager's home at 6 a.m. with a borrowed bucket truck to remove the bell for 
transporting back to Denver. The bell was stored in a warehouse at Callaway's Denver 
business until a decision could be made on how to use the bell. 

How will the bell be used? Should it be placed atop the arbor like the original 
bell? A replacement bell was already located there. 

Johnny Sigmon, a trustee, volunteered to construct a handhewn bell tower for 
the new-old bell. Construction started July 1, 1997. When asked whether he had a 
paper blueprint for his design, Sigmon replied, "No, it's in my head." 




Construction begins July 1, 1997 



Construction continues 




Four days later the bell tower was shaping up 



711 




Thirty days from starting date of July 1, Johnny 

Sigmon stands before his finished project on 

August 1, 1997 



Completed bell tower 



No Loud Speaker Needed 

The late Gather Lawing always rendered a solo during a service at campmeeting. 
When called upon to sing, there was never any doubt about what song you were 
about to hear. Gather could be heard throughout the grounds, no PA system needed, 
with his singing of "My God is Real." 



712 



Board Nailed to Arbor 

Standing in the pulpit, looking toward the left rear of the arbor, you will see a 
board nailed to upright timbers. It appears that it would be ideal for a hanging basket 
of flowers; however, it was put there in 1886 after the earthquake. It seems the quake 
pulled the timbers apart and a temporary fix, which was never removed, was placed 
there the following day. 

This account was given to Rev. W.A. Rock about 1950 by Mrs. Ida Howard who 
was under the arbor during the earthquake. 




Coconut Box Tents 

Prior to the fire of 1973, Mr. Charlie Dellinger, Sr., owned perhaps over a dozen 
tents. Other than being the largest owner of tents on the grounds, the other unique 
thing about his tents was the fact that all were sided with boards from wood boxes 
used to ship coconuts to a chocolate candy maker. 



Another First 

They wouldn't have been welcome during the WWII years, but in 1975 the ten- 
ters of Rock Spring Campground welcomed two Japanese to participate in daily reli- 
gious services. 

The song leader was a young Japanese minister, Koichi Hirano, who had con- 
verted from Buddhism. His wife, Yoko, served as pianist. 



713 



Arbor Striped Like Bunk's Mule 

In early summer of 1994, workers started repair work on the arbor roof. Through- 
out the summer, the arbor carried a series of white stripes. It was a sealer to protect 
the metal, and later painted the traditional black. 




Two Arbors 

A brush shelter was built at the lower side of the grounds in 1832 for the black 
people, but it was used only one year. An old black woman named Sylva Mays ap- 
proached Rev. Henry Asbury and said, "Master, I sat and looked at de white folks 
under de shingles and weze poor colored people under the brush, and I say, 'Oh, my 
God, will it be dis way up yonder?'" Rev. Asbury told her, "Rest easy, the colored 
people will be under the shingles next year." 

From then until 1868, the white peopled and colored tented and worshipped 
together. One section of the arbor was reserved for blacks. At about 1868, the blacks 
formed Tucker's Grove Campground near Macpelah in eastern Lincoln County. 

W.A. Day 



714 



They Paved the Road 

Since the early days of campmeeting, tenters were bothered by dust or mud from 
the road on the outer perimeter of the grounds. Between the 1992 and 1993 camp- 
meeting, trustees contracted for it to be paved at a cost of $18,000, the single most 
expensive improvement made on the grounds until that time. 



Expanded Parking Area 

Following the 1993 campmeeting, tree cutting and land clearing was started on 
campground property fronting Catawba-Burris Road and Campground Road. Addi- 
tional parking area was being added. The project was not completed prior to camp- 
meeting of 1994, however. The grass seed was sown Saturday, November 5, 1994, with 
the much-needed additional space being available for use at the 1995 session of camp- 
meeting. 



Pulpit Cross 

The cross at right was handhewn by Johnny 
Sigmon. 




Mr. Johnny's Big Day 

There was a time, the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when the big event of the summer in 
the "lower end of the county," as this area was called, was July 4th. Not as much to 
celebrate Independence Day, but to see who would be the high-bidder on the shack at 
Rock Spring Campground 

At that time, it was custom to "put it up to the highest bidder" at 12 noon on 
July 4th. The auction was conducted in conjunction with an annual meeting of the 
trustees. Apparently, the annual picnic and reunion on the grounds was no longer 
held, but the trustees had continued their annual meeting on that day each year. 

Many people looked forward to the auction every year. One such gentleman was 
Johnny Harwell of the Webbs community. "Mr. Johnny," as he was known bv his 



715 



friends, was famous for his nightly visits to the local country store in nearby Ringdom. 
Usually leaving home after feeding the mules and having supper, he would start the 
one mile walk to the store to pick up on the latest news. However, it was usually 
closing time, or around 9 p.m., when he arrived, as he always stopped to talk with 
each neighbor on his way. 

But come July 4th, Mr. Johnny was at the store well before it opened, hoping to 
catch someone headed toward Denver that would give him a ride. He never drove an 
automobile. Regardless of whether he found a ride or not, he was always at the camp- 
ground by noon, sometimes walking the five miles. 

Upon completion of the five minute auction, he would head back home, not 
arriving until well after dark. He made it a point to stop at each house to tell those 
along the way the name of the person that "bid off the shack," as he described it. 

A tall, slender man, Mr. Johnny was a rather interesting individual with another 
special interest in Rock Spring Campground. 




Some of the "good oV boys" loafing at the 
Ringdom store where "Mr. Johnny" looked for a 

ride to the campground each July 4. It's 

doubtfid Mr. Johnny would have accepted a lift 

in the souped up coupe. Walking to the 

campground took more time, but without a 

doubt, it would have been easier on his nerves. 




Johnny Harwell 



_^3§jL. 



716 



Jaycees Build Sign 

Until 2001, a sign was located in front 
of the shack to identify the campground 
to passing traffic. It was built and erected 
during the 1978 session. Resting after their 
labor are (left to right) Marty Eady, Gary 
Cornelius, Marshall Howard and Clyde 
Armstrong. 




Haircuts and Shoeshines 

Prior to the present day shack, another stood at the same location, a wooden 
structure with sills placed on rocks. At the rear was a small room. 

Elmer Harwell and Carl McGee offered haircuts in the 1920s and 1930s for 25 
cents. Shoeshines were available for 15 cents. 

Apparently the 1883 law against barbers on the grounds was repealed or ignored. 

S.M. Brotherton 



Fogging the Campground 

Prior to the mid 1960s, almost all towns had equipment operated through the 
local health department to fog the streets several times each summer to eliminate 
bugs, insects and other pests. The Lincoln County Health Department had such equip- 
ment and made an annual visit each year early in the week to give the campground a 
good fogging. The machine created a very thick fog cover over the entire grounds, 
which forced all tenters inside for perhaps 15 minutes until the fog lifted or settled, 
whichever the case. All governments have discontinued the procedure today as it was 
determined a health hazard, based on chemicals used. 

Cost for spraying Rock Spring: $50. 



Christmas at Rock Spring 

According to Shirley Sanders, her father, Lester Brotherton, always had a desire 
to do some Christmas celebrating at the campground. December 25, 1971, after lunch 
the family went to the campground, erected a Christmas tree and continued their 
Christmas festivities. (See photo next page.) 



717 




(L-R) Shirley Sanders, Lou Ann Sanders, Lester and Mary Brotherton 




Warriors of Prayer 

Legend has it that Monroe Howard, Spen- 
cer Mundy, Hartwell Proctor and Freeman 
Kelly were well known for their powerful pray- 
ing under the arbor from the first days of 
campmeeting until the early 1900s. 

Their lengthy prayers, sometimes lasting 
10-15 minutes, had great influence on those 
gathered, usually resulting in shouting, bench- 
jumping and convictions. 



Monroe Howard, (1837-1920) known for his 
powerful praying 



718 



Dean of the Shack Staff 

People attend campmeeting for many reasons: worship, fellowship and to renew 
old acquaintances, just to name a few. 

Perhaps Ray Harwell (1908-1989) of the Webbs Chapel community had the most 
unique reason of all for being present, that reason being to 
work in the shack. 

Regardless of the individual that held the contract, Harwell 
was there night and day to assist. He always had a tent, but it 
was seldom used except for sleeping. In fact, many nights he 
slept in the shack as a security person. 

In the beginning, perhaps the 1930s, it was Jinks Goodson 
across the road and the "little shack" where he worked. In 1946, 
Ab Lynch first rented the big shack and operated it through 
1956. Harwell was there every year. His shack days lasted well 
into the 1980s, working last for Boyce Lynch and Terry 
Brotherton. 

Once while working there, he made the statement after 
being exhausted from the long day's work, "If I die tonight, ^ a V Harwell 

just bury me inside here and you'll know I'm happy with my final resting place." It 
may sound like a joke, but if you knew Ray Harwell, truer words were never spoken. 
He loved the shack. 

In fact, he just couldn't get enough of the good stuff. For many years, Ab Lynch 
operated both Rock Spring and Balls Creek shacks. The crew would close at Rock Spring 
Big Sunday and move on to Catawba County for two more weeks. Harwell last pulled 
double duty in 1974 when Brotherton had the shack at the two meetings. Perhaps 
Ray Harwell didn't have such a bad idea. He got to meet almost everyone that at- 
tended campmeeting, whether a veteran or a first-timer, as everyone visits the shack. 




Vine Swinging 

Several hundred feet downstream from the rock spring can be found tall trees 
with vines extending from their tops down to the ground. During the 1950s, at any 
given daylight hour, several dozen boys and girls could be found swinging from the 
vines from one side of the creek to the other. 

Occasionally, one of the teenage "Tarzans" or "Janes" would slip or a vine would 
break, resulting in a Baptist baptizing on Methodist ground. 

At that time, most young people were on the campground the entire period and 
were restless for some form of recreation. It was either the vines or mumbley peg, as 
Softball games around the arbor were never allowed. 

Only one injury was ever recorded by the vine swingers. Sharon Sigmon, now 
Mrs. Larry Sherrill, fell and was slightly injured, resulting in a one-night stay in the 
hospital. 



719 



New Bulletin Board 

July 29, 1995, was the day Ike Proctor com- 
pleted a new bulletin board for the arbor. The glass- 
enclosed case is used to display schedules of vari- 
ous campmeeting events, as well as other infor- 
mation trustees consider of interest to tenters and 
visitors. 

Ike Proctor has spent his entire life residing 
within view of the campground on Will Proctor 
Street. 

His family campmeeting roots run deep. His 
great-uncle Richard Proctor was one of the three 
original trustees named on the 1830 campground 
deed. 

Material used was remains from Tent No. 108, 
which was replaced with a new structure during 
the summer of 1994. 




Ike Proctor stands beside his 
bulletin board 




Dwight Callaway, Troy Dellinger 

and Gary McCorkle erect Ike's 

enclosed message board to list the 

activities scheduled at Rock Spring 

Campground 



720 



Arbor Renovations 




New altar and pulpit - July 1992 



Trading Tent Rent for Calf 

Dick Little rented a tent from Frank Mundy in the early 1920s. The agreed price 
was $5.00. Coming up a little short of funds after campmeeting, Little settled his debt 
to Mundy with a heifer calf as payment. 

Edna Hildebran - 1994 



Wagon on the Roof 

A group of young men at a campmeeting disassembled the wagon of E.P. "Bunk" 
Brotherton and carried it piece by piece to the roof of a tent, where it was put back 
together straddle of the tent's ridge top. 

Keith Sherrill - 1995 



•^•^:^~ ^.-^i^r 



721 




Dedicated Law Officer 

1994 marked the 31st consecutive year for west Lincoln's John Gilbert to provide 
police protection at Rock Spring. He first served the people of Rock Spring in 1963 as 
a constable and later as a deputy sheriff. 



Electricity Replaces Candles, Lan- 
terns and Lamps 

No records show when electricity arrived at 
Rock Spring. A newspaper article in 1940 stated 
that electric light bulbs vied with kerosene lamps 
to provide tent lighting. 

Ernest Newton was the last holdout, as it was 
after 1960 before he gave up the kerosene lamp 
in his tent for electric light bulbs. 



Order Under the Arbor 

Due to excessive shouting, unnecessary running on the pews and in the aisles 
during worship services, J.R Jetton, I. Lowe and RW. Kelley were appointed to keep all 
aisles open and to maintain order under the arbor at the campmeeting of 1872. 



Chicken in the Pot Grows Feathers 

The colored cook wrung the chicken's neck, plucked the feathers and placed it in 
the pot to cook at the B.S. Sherrill, Sr., tent. Then she went to the front of the tent and 
was seated on a bench to hear that Big Sunday morning sermon. 

Tyrus and Warren Sherrill entered the back door after wringing the neck of an- 
other chicken. They took out the featherless bird and replaced it with the feathered 
one. 

Upon reentering the kitchen to check on how Sunday lunch was doing, the cook 
lifted the pot's lid and shouted in shock, "Lawd have mercy, dis chicken done and 
sprouted feathers!" 

Keith Sherrill - 1995 



Other Interesting Data 

Three funerals, three baptizings, two deaths and numerous weddings have oc- 



722 



curred at Rock Spring. Was there ever a birth on the grounds during campmeeting? 



Campmeeting Set to Full Moon 

It is known that August was selected for campmeeting because the farmers' crops 
had been laid by. As for the exact week, some records indicate dates were established 
to the full moon period of August. The reason being, excellent night lighting offered 
by the moon helped keep the peace, as acts of "rowdyism" were more numerous due 
to darkness during other weeks of the month. 



Unauthorized Union Meeting Under the Arbor 

In the fall of 1964, a labor union meeting was held under the arbor. It is thought 
the meeting concerned some grievances among Duke Power or subcontractors work- 
ing at Plant Marshall, which was under construction at the time. 

Campground Mayor William Lee Sigmon, prior to the meeting, advised those 
planning the gathering it needed the approval of the board of trustees, which was not 
likely. 

The union organizers ignored Sigmon and held the union meeting without con- 
sent of the trustees. 



Gonna Get High 

In the 1940s, the soft drink root beer was available at the shack. Thinking it 
contained alcohol, William Brotherton, with a pocket full of nickels, seated himself 
on the counter top. After drinking several bottles, he quickly placed an order for more 
while making the statement, "I'm gonna get high as a kite in a little bit," as an amused 
audience observed. 



The Rock Spring Couldn't Produce Enough 

Due to increased demands for water, a well was drilled by McCalister Well Drill- 
ing in 1980 at a cost of $704. The well didn't produce as expected and another was 
drilled by Dysart Well Co. at a cost of $595. 

Several factors contributed to the increased water needs, including a mobile home 
occupied year round by a sheriff's deputy, public restrooms and bathrooms being 
installed in individual tents. 



ts-^5^>-^8!^ 



723 



New Water Line Installed 

A new 2" water line was installed in the middle of the passway prior to the 1984 
campmeeting. As a result, each tent had its own cutoff valve. Materials cost $7,218 
and labor was $3,235, for a total cost of $10,453. Denver Plumbing Co. was the con- 
tractor. The new line was connected to the county water system. 



Possum Between the Walls 

A possum took up residence during a campmeeting between the tent walls of 
Johnny Edwards and Brooks Robinson. Edwards had leather gloves available and cap- 
tured the critter. Ford Mayhew tented nearby and had already retired to bed for the 
night. Edwards took the possum into Mayhew's sleeping quarters and pulled on his 
toe to awaken him. Edwards stated that he witnessed quite an expression on Mayhew's 
face when he awoke to see the possum's head above his toes. 

Johnny Edwards - 1995 



Stuffed Stove Pipe 

Marvin Cherry was another that was many times the victim of pranks. During 
the days of the woodstove, Cherry's stovepipe was through the roof of his tent to let 
the smoke out. Jim Little and Clint Sherrill stuffed rags down the smokestack, causing 
the entire tent to fill with smoke. 

Cherry went to the front of his tent with a butcher knife and started carving on 
a shed post. "I'll cut you just like I'm cutting this post if I find out who done it," he 
said. 

Keith Sherrill - 1995 



Extended Campmeeting 

Only once in history has Rock Spring Campmeeting lasted more than one week. 
In the year 1866, expectations were not up to those of Rev. Martin Van Buren Sherrill. 
He decided to continue for one extra week, which moved into September. Apparently 
some meetings were conducted during dates other than the first week in August, as 
this meeting extended into September. 

The famous earthquake in Charleston occurred August 31 and into the morning 
of September 1886. Most have heard the earthquake talk concerning Rock Spring, 
which was in session when it happened. This somewhat settles the statement of tradi- 
tion as to the time Rock Spring is held annually. 

The strange thing to consider is that most attending campmeeting were farmers, 
and cotton was ready for picking in late August and into September. One would con- 

724 



elude that the families needed to be back on the farm for harvesting that late in the 
year. 



Remembering Jack 

In the early twentieth century, the children were frightened into good behavior. 
Their parents warned them that if they misbehaved, they would send "Jack" to get 
them. He was a man who lived in a nearby town and always came to campmeeting. 
Since he had no tent, he slept under the arbor where he believed more of the spirit of 
God dwelled, and he felt safe there. 

He was harmless. Food from the tenters carried to him in the arbor kept him well 
fed. Each call for worship service found him on one of the benches. And when the 
minister made an altar call, regardless of the nature, Jack responded to his call. 



No Banjo Playing Around Here 

I was about 16 years old at the time. Several of my friends were walking around 
the campground one morning about 4 a.m. I was pickin' my banjo and we were 
singing "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain." 

Late the next afternoon, Granny (Constable Wilson Graham) visited me at my 
tent. He said, "Mr. Perkins, if I hear anyone pickin' a banjo tonight, you're going to 
jail." I sure hoped no one else was at the campground that could pick a banjo. 

Eminent Perkins - 2002 






725 



Fires destroyed many tents in 1973 and 1981 






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726 



Jr's Hay Stack 

Near the arbor for the 1995 meeting, Dwight Callaway, Jr., with help from friends, 
constructed an old time pitch fork-built havstack to remind the veterans of davs gone 
by. 





Bell Destroyed 

The original bell that rested under the arbor roof for over 150 years was de- 
stroyed between the meetings of 1977 and 1978. Vandals, in an attempt to perhaps 
steal it, dropped the historic piece onto the ground, breaking it into many pieces. A 
new bell was in place for 1978. If you can remember the old bell, there's no compari- 
son between it and the new one. 

The old bell could easily be heard in Denver, while the new version is even hard 
to hear on the outside row of tents. Apparently the quality of metal was much better 
nearly two centuries ago. 

The replacement bell cost $45. 



Arbor or Harbor? 

In most old records, the structure we know today as the arbor was referred to as 
the harbor. What's the difference? 

Webster gives one definition of arbor as a shelter of branches. The first camp- 
meetings were conducted under a brush shed. 

As for harbor, one definition is a place of comfort, and I'm sure many have 
experienced comfort under the structure located at the center of the grounds. 



727 



Tent Tax 

Each year the campground charges tent tax to help cover the expenses related to 
conducting campmeeting. The receipts below show the now and then of tent tax. In 
1958, the tax paid was $3.50 plus $1.00 for electricity, making a total of $4.50. In 
1994, the fee was $75.00. It looks like a rather large increase, but keep in mind that in 
1958 a Coca-Cola sold for a nickel. Actually, the amount charged today is rather small 
considering what is received in return. 



NOTE: You did find better penmanship on 1958 receipts than what is shown 
today. Nothing personal intended, Mr. Secretary. 



ROCK SPRINGS CAMP GROUND 

DENVER. N C. 






tw 



Dollars 



For. 



r^/ 



_Tent No. 



/& & 



ELECTRIC LIGHTS AND ACCESSORIES 
% / t 0O Fnr Tent Nn / 6C 



BOARD OF 4J^ECTX»RS 



^S^fig» t / t£ Sec. & Tress. 






ROCK SPRINGS CAMPGROUND 

i P.O. Box 204 

Denver, North Carolina 28037 

I 

I 



NE 



0107 



RECEIVED FROM J?/*/ r?^A(S^~]£^ 



DOLLARS 



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Account Total 



1 Amount Paid $ 



5Z 



Balance Due $_ 



Ef^u-^ 



728 



Preacher's Son Finds a New Toy 

Rev. George Ivey was pastor of Rock Spring Charge 1876-1879. The campground 
had purchased lamps with glass mirrors on the top side to reflect more light under the 
arbor. They were stored at the parsonage between campmeetings. Denver's Brass Band 
had played during a recent campmeeting and "Little George" was totally fascinated 
by the cymbals. 

After campmeeting, Little George decided to use the glass lamp reflectors as cym- 
bals. One can imagine the results when the preacher's son clashed his new-found 
cymbals together. Glass everywhere. 

It was reported that the destruction to the mirrors was minor compared to the 
damage Rev. Ivey placed on the rear section of Little George. 

William Rock, Jr. - 199 S 





Rex: W.A. Rock 



At left is an artist's sketch of what 

a brush arbor campmeeting might 

have looked like in the 1800s. 

Note the lamps with mirror 

reflectors mounted above to reflect 

added light under the arbor, the 

approach to arbor lighting once 

used at Rock Spring. 



.^~^s^ 



729 



Play Ball 

A campground tradition is a softball (plastic ball) game near the arbor. Until the 
early start of school, the games lasted from mid-morning until late afternoon. Even 
with the early school start, games are still played the "little week," late afternoons 
and on weekends. 

Special rules apply, such as hitting the ball on the arbor roof is an out. Desig- 
nated trees and rocks serve as bases. 

Note the catcher is in position to receive the next pitch. 




i. . 





730 



Unofficial Official Photographer 




If a reward is ever offered for anyone spotting Murrey Sherrill without his cam- 
era or video camera during campmeeting, it's doubtful anyone will ever collect. He 
has made hundreds of campmeeting photos and many feet of video during the past 
15 years. 




No, Murrey, it's not time for campmeeting. (Note the fancy snow boots, probably direct 

from Macy's in New York.) 



~~^ 



731 



Mrs. Mundy Enjoyed Campmeetin' for Over 100 Years 

Katie Victoria Mundy, at age 100 in 1994, holds her infant great-granddaughter, 
Katie Victoria Crooks. This was her 100th campmeeting. She tented in No. 5 and lived 
to see four more campmeetings. 




732 



Swings - Every Tent Must Have One 





Signora Little (1964) swings L\im Bass 



Most are made of 

wood (left), but a few 

are metal (right) 




733 



Annual Fourth of July Gathering at Campground 

Beginning prior to the turn of the century, in fact as far back as 1876 and well 
into the 1920s, it was custom to attend the Annual Reunion and Picnic held each July 
4th at Rock Spring Campground. 

Mrs. Mildred Ramsey, whose late husband served as Rock Spring High School 
principal for many years, at 92 years of age remembered well those special celebra- 
tions in Denver. 

On August 30, 1994, she said, "Denver had its own Brass Band that held practice 
sessions throughout the year to be in best form for the annual parade horn the camp- 
ground to Denver and back, which was a part of the celebration. The parade included 
horseback riders, as well as individuals on foot following the band. After the parade, a 
picnic dinner was held on the grounds with the afternoon devoted to recreation such 
as sack races and horseshoe pitching." 

She also mentioned that during the annual outing several of the locals would 
usually have a drink or two more than they needed. 

Another part of the day's events included a 12 noon meeting of the campground 
trustees under the arbor to discuss upcoming campmeeting business. 



School Closing at the Campground 

According to Miss Lucille Goodson, commencement exercises for the Denver 
school were conducted at the campground. She added that one year band members 
from Davidson College assisted Denver's Brass Band. 

I would speculate this was prior to the mid-1920s when the Rock Springs High 
School was opened. It's likely the old school did not have facilities offering enough 
seating for such an event and the campground did. With the construction of the new 
high school, an auditorium was included. 



Jo-Jo, The Peddler 

In the 1940s, a regular at 
Rock Spring was a young man 
confined to a wheelchair 
known as Jo-Jo, The Peddler. 

Joe Barker was his real 
name. He usually rented a tent 
and traveled the grounds offer- 
ing his goods that included 
pencils, needles and an assort- 
ment of novelty items he car- 
ried in his display case. 




734 



"Mug Joint" Photos 

Beginning in the late 1930s and until 1958, it was custom for a photo making 
stand to be located on the grounds to the rear of the shack during campmeeting. 
Actually, the official name of it was "Mug Joint," though this name was reserved for 
the carnival circuit the owners followed the remainder of the summer season. "Mug 
Joint" was a little salty for use on church grounds, thus it was called "the picture 
stand" while at Rock Spring. 

It was owned by a lady from Lenoir, NC. Construction was of 2'x4's with loose 
butt hinges attached for easy up and down. Canvas sides and top were used. Included 
was a darkroom with developing on-site. Coloring could be added to the finished 
product. 

Photos below were made at the campground picture stand. Left shows Zeb Broth- 
erton in 1953. Note his cooking cap. He and F.D. "Jim" Little operated the "little 
shack" across the road that year. At right is a 1947 photo of Bess Brotherton (left) and 
Zeb's sister, Minnie Little. Background scenery was changed annually to give each 
year's photos their own identity. 




Almond Sherrill and S.D. 
Howard, Jr., at the "Mug Joint 




735 




Horn Called Campers to Worship 

In the beginning at Rock Spring, there was 
no old-fashioned rope-type bell suspended from 
the arbor ceiling. In fact, there was not an arbor 
whose roof would have carried the weight of a bell 
and the pulling of a rope. 

Construction was not started on the present 
arbor until 1832. Prior to that a brush arbor was 
used. 

Tenters were called to worship services with a 
fox-hunter's horn. It is possible enough work had 
been done on the arbor in 1832 that services were 
held there. It's likely a bell was not put atop the 
facility 7 until the meeting of 1833 or later. 



And the call to worship comes again. Reed Bryant 
uses a pre-Civil War horn. 



How the Rock Spring Parsonage Got an Indoor Toilet 

In the early 1940s, Floyd Todd was employed to lead the singing at campmeet- 
ing. While staying during campmeeting at the nearby Rock Spring Charge parsonage, 
he observed the need for inside toilet facilities. 

Upon receipt of his check by mail for his services, he doubled the payment and 
returned it to O.R Howard, treasurer of the campground. Included with the check 
were instructions to apply it to adding facilities to the parsonage. 

Howard said he didn't have an inside toilet at his home, and the preacher didn't 
need one either. Therefore, he put the funds into the campground general fund. 

Sometime later, Mr. Todd sent word that he wanted to visit the parsonage to see 
the new bathroom. Several area residents advised Howard his actions were illegal. In 
fact, he visited Lincolnton attorney Kemp Nixon, who verified that his not using the 
funds as requested could cause a lawsuit for the campground. 

At that point, Howard got busy and raised the additional funds necessary to 
construct a bathroom for the parsonage. 

It was completed before Mr. Todd visited. 

Rev. W.A. Rock, Jr. - 1995 



736 



Fresh Beef 

For many years prior to and ending in the late 1950s, it was custom for a local 
farmer or cow trader to slaughter a cow on Friday evening prior to Big Sunday. 

Before sunup on Saturday morning, he was up and cutting the beef into various 
portions. By 6 a.m., he was making rounds on the grounds selling the cuts. Ladies 
could be observed coming from their kitchens with a pan in hand to make a purchase. 

It didn't matter which portion the lady wanted, the seller was never sold out, as 
he always had his butcher knife handy to redesign whatever was needed. 

There was never any guessing as to the amount being sold. The seller always had 
scales handy to assure everyone they were getting an accurate weight. 

Just another way for the local farmer to create a little cash flow during the late 
summer before he sold his cotton. 



Pole Rafters 

Today's tents are usually framed with rough 2"x4"s from a local sawmill. Origi- 
nally, rafters were nothing more than round poles. Photos below show such rafters 
which still exist in the Earnest Newton tent. 




737 



Campmeeting Mud Wrestling and Volleyball 

In the 1980s, a pit was dug on the east side of the campground and filled with 
water. For several years it was the location of "Big Sunday" afternoon mud wrestling 
and volleyball. 

The event was discontinued after several individuals that had no intention of 
participating were unwillingly volunteered by some players. 




Campmeeting Imprinted Wearables 

The first commercial item produced us- 
ing the name "Rock Spring Campmeeting" and 
a sketch of the arbor was a tee shirt offered at 
the shack in 1974. It was not silk-screened, as 
is the case with such items today. A heat trans- 
fer decal was ironed onto the garment. The 
photo shows one of the remaining such trans- 
fers. It appears printed backwards but when 
applied to a shirt, it was correct. 

It wasn't until 1976 that the first silk- 
screened campmeeting tee shirts appeared. 
Also, campmeeting caps were offered that year. 
Bet there aren't many of those around, as only 
two dozen were produced. Since then, many 
versions of campmeeting tee shirts have ap- 
peared. 



eonure >DOJI 



'~v 




^__ 



— 



738 



Funeral Home Fans 

They disappeared from the scene perhaps 
25 years ago. Prior to that time, every arbor pew 
was scattered with cardboard and wooden 
handle fans for the comfort of those present. 
Usually they carried advertising for Cavin, 
Drum or Warlick Funeral Homes. 

For 1994, L.D. Warlick, Jr., at the request 
of Elsie Armstrong, revived the tradition. Mr. 
Warlick's fans lasted only one night, as they 
were quickly removed by those desiring a camp- 
meeting collectible. They carried a sketch of the 
arbor on one side. Of course, the other side 
offered information on Warlick Funeral Home. 




Paddle Ball 

A paddle ball is a wooden paddle about 10 inches in length, with a long rubber 
string (about 30 inches) attached. On the other end is a rubber ball about the size of a 
golf ball. "Ya whop" the ball against the paddle until you miss or the rubber string 
breaks. Should the rubber string break, tie the loose ends together and start whopping 
again. 

Until 1985, as many as 1,000 were sold each year at the shack. I sold 14 gross 
(2,016) in 1973 when I held the shack contract at Rock Spring and Balls Creek Camp- 
grounds. Every child and many adults had to have one. The official paddle ball of 
Rock Spring was made at the Fly Back Co. at High 
Point, NC. If it wasn't a Fly Back, you were out of 
style. 

Why the decline in paddle ball activity at Rock 
Spring? The shack discontinued selling the Fly Backs 
and substituted imported versions. Why were they 
not accepted? A Fly Back was 1/4" thick, which made 
for better whopping, and imported brands were 
only 1/8" in thickness. 



Official carnpmeeting paddle 

ball from Fly Back (left) and 

the cheap imitation (right) 




739 




Playing paddle ball 





740 



Emergency Needs Met 

Prior to the establishment of the East Lin- 
coln Rescue Squad, the Lincolnton-based Lin- 
coln County Lifesaving Crew served the camp- 
ground for emergency medical needs. The 
preachers' tent, as it was known, was their base 
of operation starting in 1959. They shared it with 
the county sheriff's officers. 

Today, with ministers tenting once again, 
the trustees rent a tent on the third line for the 
law officers and emergency staff. 




Waiting to be of sen'ice - 1972 



No More Straw Ticks 

While today's campmeeting-goers enjoy the comforts of a Sealy Posturpedic 
mattress, our ancestors didn't enjoy such luxury for sleeping, even at home. While it 
was a feather bed at home, it was a "straw tick" at Rock Spring. 

By sewing two flat pieces of cotton cloth, about 8' square, around the edges 
leaving one end with a three foot opening, a tick was created. It was then filled with 
fresh wheat straw to create a campmeeting mattress. Without springs it was placed 
upon the solid-floored bed. Following a night's sleep, usually it required a daily fluff- 
ing prior to the next night's use. 

For a more detailed description of a straw tick, please refer to an article in Vol. I 
by Mr. J.B. Ivey. 



Lots and Tent Prices Increase 

In 1936, back Lot No. 10, west square, was sold by the trustees to M. Fitzgerald 
for 37 1/2 cents. Over the years, vacant lots continued to escalate in price. 

As a result of a fire on the grounds in 1973, three lots were gained. A lot was 
made west of Lot No. 143 and two west of Lot No. 157. They were auctioned Saturday 
afternoon, May 4, 1974. One lot sold for $550, another for $530 and the third for 
$400. 

No vacant lots remain today, as 255 lots make up the campground. 

In Vol. I, it was mentioned that a lot and tent was sold for $6 in 1836. In 1946, 
Smith Brotherton purchased tent and lot No. 107 for $140. In 1949, he purchased lot 
and tent No. 109 for $500. Prices were increasing. 

In 1994, I sold lot and tent No. 109 for $10,000. In 1995, Richard Howard sold a 
tent and lot for $15,000. About three years later, the campground trustees purchased 
lot and tent No. 1 for $20,000. Another sold 2 years ago for $30,000. 

I have not heard of lots and tents selling for prices greater than $30,000, but I 



741 



have heard a couple individuals state they will pay $35,000 and, knowing them, I 
believe them. 



Papa Loses Son 

Papa was wearing a Panama straw hat. We stopped at one of his friend's tents for 
conversation. The friend was also wearing a Panama straw hat. The friend walked off 
to the arbor. I followed, thinking it was Papa. After the incident, neighbors said Henry 
Dellinger had so many chaps, he couldn't keep up with them. 

Boyd Dellinger - 2002 



Marshal Didn't Jump the Wire 

One night in the early 1940s, a group of teenage boys stretched a piece of bailing 
wire about six inches above the floor, wall to wall, on the center wall of a tent belong- 
ing to Mrs. S.D. Howard, Sr. 

After turning out all the lights, they proceeded to locate campground marshal, 
Boone McCall. Making certain McCall could see them, they threw some rocks on 
several tents. The chase was on. 

The youngsters headed straight for their predetermined destination - the Howard 
tent. Entering the front door, jumping the wire, and straight out the back door they 
went. McCall, full speed ahead, entered the tent unaware of the trap. He hooked his 
foot on the wire and tumbled several times, rolling out the tent's back door as the 
pranksters watched the result of their joke. 

McCall escaped with a few minor cuts, bruises and a wounded ego. 

Harold Howard, Sr. - 1980 



, 



Water Guns and Penny Balloons 

Until the late 1960s, water guns were among the big sellers at the shack. One 
never knew when to expect a squirt in the face, especially at night. Almost every child 
was armed with a water gun. They were declared off-limits by trustees. 

Another favorite was the penny balloon billed with water. Usually it was tossed 
on an unsuspecting individual. 



742 



Big Sunday Prospecting 

With the arrival of metal detectors, just as soon 
as the tenters left on Big Sunday afternoon, the coin 
hunters gathered. One would be surprised at the 
amount of pocket change they usually found. Pic- 
tured are Ike Proctor and grandson, Corey 
Zimmerman (2002). 



Shed Added to Arbor 





The 10' shed at the rear of the arbor was not a part of original construction. It 
was added in 1891. 

NOTE: Date incorrectly listed in Vol. I as 1833. 






Only One Left 

Only one tent remains on the campground de- 
signed like the one at right. In the early days, the de- 
sign was common, with most tents unjoined. This ap- 
proach allowed for walk-space and a drain ditch on 
each side. 




743 



Water Fights 

After lunch on Big Sunday, it is a long-running custom to conduct water rights 
all across the campground. If you don't want to get wet, stay in your tent! 




Mike Bost was at the right place at the wrong time as two friends prepare and soak him 



744 



Shouting, Another Lost Campmeeting Tradition 




Above, 87-year-old Mamie Sherrill shouts praises to 
the Lord during the 1983 session. It was her 70th year at 
Rock Spring. Below, Rhyne Henley did likewise in 1974. 





745 



First Trustee Out of Office 

James Bivings, one of the three original trustees named on a deed in 1830, re- 
signed his position August 5, 1833. Reason is unknown. 



Campmeeting Never Held in Catawba County 

Rock Spring Campmeeting, a descendant of that first meeting near Terrell in 
1794, has never been conducted outside of Lincoln County. The Rehobeth area lies in 
Mountain Creek Township. However, in 1 794, that portion of present day Catawba 
County was a part of Lincoln County. Future meets at Bethel and Roby's were located 
in Lincoln County, as is Rock Spring. 



It's Rock Spring 

The majority of the time, when you see printed reference to the campground, it 
is Rock Springs. In all early records of the location, it is printed as Rock Spring, with- 
out an "s." There's only one rock spring. 



^^i 



Controversy Over Rostrum 

Apparently a rostrum for the arbor was quite a problem during the 1850s. The 
trustees voted one year to build one; the next year they voted to move it outside the 
arbor and, finally, another vote by trustees to move it back under the arbor. At each 
meeting the trustees were divided with some saying "yay," and others giving a "nay." 



Tent Owners Vote 

Only one time in the history of Rock Spring Campground, tent-holders, both 
male and female, were invited to vote on an issue concerning the campground. Ap- 
parently the trustees wanted to settle the "rostrum matter" forever. The voters were 
asked to cast their ballot on Monday, August 14, 1883, for or against a rostrum under 
the arbor. Results of the vote were not recorded. 



^^-^i^^ 



Trustee Trivia 

Which trustee of Rock Spring Campground fathered the most children? Rev. 
Henry Asbury and his two wives produced 18 children - nine boys and nine girls. 

746 



Members of the present board have a lot of catching up to do to beat Rev. Asbury's 
record. 



,--4^4^^^!^^ 



Pat had a Better Idea 

There was a time, as mentioned in Vol. I, when sections of the campground were 
rented during the off-season for cattle grazing to nearby residents. It was a common 
sight in the morning or late afternoon to see a lad with cow and chain traveling to 
and from the campground, but never Pat Goodson, great-grandson of campmeeting 
founder, Rev. Daniel Asbury. Pat, the unofficial mayor of Denver until his death, al- 
ways hooked the loose end of the cow chain to the bumper of his Ford and made the 
trip to and from grazing with the cow following. 





Was there perhaps a day when Pat lost 
part of the cow? 



Pat Goodson, Denver's unofficial mayor 

(Right) Miss Lucille Goodson remembered this 

photo well. It was April 1 945 as she prepared the 

cow for Pat to take to the campground. She 

described the cow as "nothing but a big pet." 

According to Miss Goodson, this cow went to the 

campground daily. 




747 



Harold A. Harwell: The Man with the Keys 

Harold has been a fixture at campmeeting annually his entire life. Before the 
death of his father, Ray, the pair worked for many at the shack. 

Each year prior to campmeeting, Harold could be found assisting B.S. Sherrill, Jr., 
erecting the passway lights. At one time, they were taken down after campmeeting 
each year and put back up the next. After Sherrill retired from the board of trustees, 

Harold picked up the title "The Man With the 
Keys." He was present during the day when trust- 
ees usually weren't. In an effort to better accom- 
modate those needing to enter the arbor area or 
enter anything with a campground lock attached, 
Harold was given keys to all gates and buildings 
on the grounds. Should a stranger arrive and need 
access to something locked, upon asking for as- 
sistance, they were usually told to "find Harold." 
Upon arrival each year, he proudly displays 
the keys as they hang horn his belt to let every- 
one know he has the keys available. 

He presently resides at a Lincolnton rest 
home. 

Harold prepares to unlock the gate at 
the 1998 campmeeting 

Ike's Arbor 

Denver resident Ike Proctor, famous for his birdhouses and swings, constructed a 
miniature arbor for Rev. Gene Richardson in 1996. 





748 



Poverty-stricken People 

Two Yankee travelers, or perhaps I should say two individuals that resided north 
of the Mason-Dixon Line, passed the Rock Spring Campground for the first time dur- 
ing an annual campmeeting. 

They traveled to a Denver service station and told the local "loafers" they had 
heard about poverty in the South, but never dreamed it was as bad as the situation 
was 1/2 a mile east. 

Alfred Eudy- 1997 



Put on Some Clothes and Close that Hot Dog Stand! 

Rev. Nolen B. Harmon, who lived to the age of 103, was delivering a sermon at 
Rock Spring in the mid-1960s. He noticed some teenage girls dressed in shorts walk- 
ing near the arbor. Rev. Harmon immediately stopped his sermon and shouted to the 
young girls, "You out there that don't have clothes on, go put some on. This is the 
house of God. I believe there may have been more souls made here than saved here." 
He continued with remarks not in his prepared text, "Those running that hot 
dog stand (shack) out yonder, close it down!" 

Re\'. Jim Roberts, Retired Methodist Minister 
1998 




Pictured in the 1950s are some teenage girls that would not have passed Rev. 

Harmon's dress code 



sca^S^ 



749 



Long-Winded Preacher 

The Rev. Dr. W.M. Robey at one time preached two hours and ten minutes at 
Rock Spring on "Hell" and held his crowd. He edited a prohibition weekly, published 
in Charlotte in the 1880s. 

J.B. Ivey - 1932 



Molasses Mill 

A community molasses mill was located adjacent to the spring in the 1940s. 

Charles Russell Hager, Jr. - 1998 




Eudy Smoked Them Out 

The year was 1938. Most tents had a stovepipe out the 
roof or rear wall. At the time, most tenters had woodstoves 
for cooking. Late one night, Alfred Eudy and some friends 
stuffed the pipes as long as they could find any stuffing ma- 
terial. When the sun rose the next morning and the ladies 
started preparing breakfast, it was smoke-filled tent after tent. 

Alfred Eudy - 1996 

(Left) Alfred Eudy was still grinning sixty years later in 1998 
about the plugged stovepipes 



Tobacco Chewer Solves Parking Problem 

There was a tenter that nightly found a car belonging to a non-tenter parked 
within inches of his rear door for several nights - so close that he could not at times 
exit his tent. 

Each night after services he went out back for a chew of Red Man. One night, 
tobacco juice sprayed on the intruder's car eliminated all future parking infringe- 
ments. 



Loose A-Model 

Ray Harwell, along with sisters Madge and Ruby and father Johnny, parked their 
A-Model Ford on top of the hill on the east side of the spring. 

Apparently it was left out of gear and started to roll toward the woods and out- 
houses, which were around the woods in a half-circle layout. When the vehicle neared 



750 



the outhouses, it turned and traveled within inches of the structures. 

"Ladies and men exited, not fully dressed. I never laughed so much in my life, 
said Monroe Howard in 1997. 



Roscoe McCorkle 

For many years, the late Roscoe McCorkle, a local 
black resident, was an ever-present fixture at Rock 
Spring Campground several weeks prior to campmeet- 
ing, as well as during the entire session. 

Prior to campmeeting each year, McCorkle took 
care of removing the old straw from the arbor, as well 
as cleaning the grounds and spring. 

It was custom to dip the spring dry and add some 
bleach to purify the water. Most likely that's a process 
that would be frowned upon by today's health depart- 
ment officials. 

Once campmeeting was in full swing, Roscoe was 
the official bell ringer. From the early morning 
children's service until the midnight curfew, Roscoe Roscoe McCorkle ringing out 
was there to handle the rope chores. He always had a curfew time 

pocket watch in his bib overalls to make sure he was on time. 

In between bell duties, Roscoe made early morning rounds in the passway with 
his team of mules and wagon collecting tent-holders' garbage. In later years, he mod- 
ernized his operation by using a B-Allis Chalmers tractor and trailer. 

The bell ringing is now done by a trustee. 





Roscoe McCorkle pulls the rope of the old- 
fashioned bell to invite the tenters and visitors at 
arbor senice. Typical of Jimmy Howard, seated at 
the left, to be in attendance and on time for the 
meeting. 



751 



Thomas Rogers Sigmon 

Rogers Sigmon would have described it as "perfect campmeeting weather." A 
sunny afternoon with temperatures in the mid-70s. Just enough breeze to keep the 
200 or so assembled under the arbor at Rock Spring Campground comfortable and the 
nearby half-staff flag waving. 

It wasn't campmeeting. Those present that Thursday afternoon, the eighth day 
of September, 1994, were there to offer final respects to their relative and friend, 
Thomas Rogers Sigmon, 72, retired dairy farmer and WWII veteran. 

After several years of declining health and confinement to a veterans hospital in 
Salisbury, Sigmon had died three days earlier. 

A funeral under the historic arbor was something the community residents had 
never seen before, but the most fitting tribute that could have been provided Sigmon. 

From early spring when the weather warmed until the frost fell in the fall, dur- 
ing any given week, at some time, Rogers Sigmon could be found at Tent No. 51. 

He had strong ties to the place. His father was a trustee until his death in 1948. 
Brother William Lee served for many years 
as mayor of the grounds. Rogers, along 
with another brother, J.W., had mowed 
and groomed the grounds for many a year 
prior to annual campmeetings. The fam- 
ily had campmeeting blood in their veins. 

Near the end of the service, Rev. Ted 
Hendrix said, "I never knew the man but 
from what I've heard about him over the 
past two days, I believe he would have 
been my type of person. He done things 
differently and his own way." 

Upon conclusion of the memorial 
service, his flag-covered coffin was placed 
upon a wagon led by a team of mules for 
the 3/4-mile journey to Bethel cemetery. 
Rogers would have been pleased. It was 
different. His funeral had just been held 
under the arbor. He would have been 
proud. He'll not only be remembered as 
Rogers Sigmon the person, but as the one 
whose funeral was held under the arbor. 
The one whose body was taken to its fi- 
nal resting place by mule and wagon. Ev- 
erything was different. Everything was done 
way, one final time. 



$n ittemorp 

Thomas Rogers Sigmon 



DATE OF BIRTH 
October 2, 1921 

DATE OF DEATH 
September 5, 1994 

PLACE AND TIME OF SERVICE 

Rock Springs Campground Arbor 

September 8, 1994 

3:00 P.M. 

CLERGY 
Rev. Ted Hendricks 

FINAL RESTING PLACE 

Bethel United Methodist Church 

Cemetery 

SERVICES DIRECTED BY 

Warlick Funeral Home 

Lincolnton, N.C. 



the way he would have wanted it. His 



752 




Thomas Rogers Sigmon visits with brother and then campground mayor William Lee 

during 1 978 campmeeting 




Thomas Rogers Sigmon (third from left) chats with friends at Rock Spring in 1983. Brother 
f.W. Sigmon is second from left, with another brother, Vic, in swing. 



753 







■■■•■ 




• : - " 






Thomas Rogers 
Sigmon 



The flag-draped coffin of Thomas Rogers Sigmon leaves the 

arbor area 



What T.R. Said 

On July 20, 1980, a reporter from an area newspaper visited Rock Spring Camp- 
ground looking for a story. Standing in a doorway of Tent No. 51 was Thomas Rogers 
Sigmon. He was the only person visible among the rows of wooden structures. 

"I've been staying here for two or three weeks now," he said, explaining that he 
kept an unofficial watch on the campground, which was within walking distance of 
his home. 

Many campmeeting goers had begun sprucing up their tents in preparation of 
the August 2 official start, but Sigmon was apparently the only person who had moved 
in. 

"I have more company down here than I ever do at home," he gave as the reason 
for his early start. 

Sigmon sat down on a bench in front of his beam-and-plank structure and said, 
"Now, what do you want to know about campmeeting? I'm the one who can tell you. 
It's supposed to be Methodist altogether," he noted, "but don't you believe that. There's 
been many a soul saved here. We get about the best preaching." 

He added that "the eating is also near the best at the campground. I don't ever 
cook," he said. "Just walk down a row. A nickel will get you a dime. I'd get fed before 
I got 50 feet. Everybody knows me. I'm always the first to move in and the last to 
move out." 

In another campmeeting interview in August 1983, Sigmon said, "You'd like it 
down here. Everybody's local around here mostly. We have more fun than a bunch of 
monkeys." 



754 



"Made in the Shade, Stirred with a Spade, Ice-cold Lemonade" 

A chant given by Thomas Rogers Sigmon the year he circled the campground 
with a "slop jar" filled with lemonade. Floating on top was a Baby Ruth candy bar, less 
wrapper. 

By the way, the slop jar was new, having been purchased earlier in the day horn 
one of the merchants of the greater uptown Denver shopping district. 

Any of you young'uns that don't know what a slop jar is, ask grandma or Aunt 
Tootie - they'll know. Slop jars were once a must for campmeeting. 



My Mother's Funeral 

My mother, Virginia Dare B. Brotherton, died July 8, 1997. Without her to rely 
on, probably there would be more inaccuracies that exist in this book. 

Second to her family, campmeeting was her love. Born in 1919, she never missed 
an annual session until her death. Her devotion for the campground was so great that 
upon her death, I believed nothing would be more pleasing to her than a memorial 
service under the arbor. So it was there on July 10, 1997. 




Pictured behind the casket are (right) Rev. Ted Hendrix, pastor of the Rock Spring 
Charge, and Rev. Harry Sherrill, who, as a youth, she taught in Sunday School at 
Webbs Chapel Church in the "Junior Class," as it was called. 

My mother also had a great fondness for bluegrass gospel music. A group of 
bluegrass musicians and singers led by Harold Killian provided gospel songs and mu- 
sic. My mother was probably at that very hour patting her foot and singing along 



755 



while smiling with pride for the location for her funeral, and the fact that Harry was 
a part of it. 

"Bubo" 




Host Ministers for Campmeeting 

It has been tradition since the beginning of campmeeting for the pastor of the 
Rock Spring Charge to serve as host minister for campmeeting. Prior to the establish- 
ment of the Rock Spring Charge in 1868, the area's Methodist churches were under 
the sanction of the Lincoln Circuit. Speculation would be that the circuit rider of the 
Lincoln Circuit hosted campmeeting in those early days. 

One Rock Spring Charge minister did not serve as host for campmeeting. Rev. 
T.E. Wagg, who fulfilled his duties in 1911 and 1912, refused to be involved with 
campmeeting his final year on the charge in 1913. He was a leader of the movement 
that year to abolish campmeeting. Trustees employed Rev. John Smith, a Tennessee 
native and then Gastonia resident, to fill the pulpit. 

LINCOLN CIRCUIT: 

1828-29 Hartsell Spain (Roby's Campground) 

1830 Jacob Hill 

1831-32 Daniel G. McDaniel 

1833 G.W. Huggins 

1834 Thomas C. Smith 

1835 John Watts 

1836 J.B. Anthony 

1837 James Armstrong 

1838 John H. Robinson 
1839-40 Daniel G. McDaniel 
1841 Jacob Anthony 



756 



1842 


Whatcoat A. Gamewell 


1843-44 


A.B. McGilvery 


1845 


James J. Richardson 


1846-47 


T.S Daniel 


1848 


J.M. Bradley 


1849-50 


Colin Murchinson 


1851 


J.H. Zimmerman 


1852 


W.M. Easterling 


1853 


L.M. Little 


1854 


H.M. Wood 


1855 


W.C. Patterson 


1856-57 


Lundy Wood 


1858 


J.E. Ervin 


1859 


E.M. Thompson 


1860 


J. Finger 


1861-62 


G.W. Ivey 


1863 


O.A. Darby 


1864 


Daniel May 


1866-67 


John Finger 


Rock Spring Circuit/Charge 


1868-69 


John Finger 


1870-71 


WD. Lee 


1872-75 


J.W. Puett 


1876-79 


G.W. Ivey 


1880-81 


M.V. Sherrill 


1882-84 


J.H. Pace 


1885 


M.V. Sherrill 


1886 


T.A. Boone 


1887 


J.C. Hartsell 


1888-91 


R.S. Webb 


1892 


Thomas S. Ellington 


1893 


Pinkney L. Terrell 


1894-96 


J.T. Stover 


1897 


J.C. Mock 


1898 


J.C. Postello 


1899-1900 


M.D. Giles 


1901-04 


B.A. York 


1905-06 


J.V. Clegg 


1907-08 


N.M. Modlin 


1909-10 


W.R Elliott 


1911-13 


T.E. Wagg 


1914 


J.W. Hoyle 



757 



1915-16 


James H. Greene 


1917 


W.L. Dawson 


1918-20 


W.L. Shinn 


1921 


J.R. Walker 


1922-24 


H.C Byrum 


1925-27 


R.C. Kirk 


1928-31 


R.F. Honeycutt 


1932-35 


Van B. Harrison 


1936-39 


M.A. Osborne 


1940 


J. Max Brandon, Sr. 


1941-42 


A.W. Lynch 


1943-47 


John H. Green 


1948-51 


W.A. Rock, Jr. 


1952 


J. Max Brandon, Jr. 


1953-56 


J.B. Fitzgerald 


1957-60 


M.W. Heckard 


1961-69 


Paul V. Ridenhour, Jr. 


1970-72 


Louis Murray 


1973-81 


Roy L. Eubanks 


1982-85 


Hal Peacock 


1986-91 


Gene McCants 


1992-2001 


Ted Hendrix 



Bethel UMC 

2002 Gary Fulker 

Rock Spring Charge was dissolved in June 2002. 



758 



Host Ministers - Rock Spring Campground 1915-2002 




Re\>. fames H. Greene 
1915-1917 




Rev. R.F. Honeycutt 
1928-1931 




Re\>. H.C. Byrum 
1922-1924 




Rev. V.B. Harrison 
1932-1935 




Rev. R.C. Kirk 
1925-1927 




Rev. M.A. Osborne 
1936-1939 




Rev. f.M. Brandon, Sr. 
1940-1941 



Rev. A.W. Lynch 
1941-1942 



Re\'. John H. Green 
1943-1947 



759 




Rev. W.A. Rock, Jr. 
1948-1951 





Rev. f.M. Brandon, Jr. 
1952 





Rev. J.B. Fitzgerald 
1953-1956 




Rev. M.W. Heckard 
1957-1960 



Rev. Paul V. Ridenhour, Jr. 
1961-1969 



Rev. Louis H. Murray 
1970-1972 




Rev. Roy L. Eubanks 
1973-1981 




Rev. Hal Peacock 
1982-1985 




Rev. Gene McCants 
1986-1991 



760 





Re\: Ted Hendrix 
1992-2001 



Rev. Gar\' Fulker 
2002 





How Time Flies 

I mentioned in Volume I, my first campmeeting was at the age of 6 months. 
Above left is my first campmeeting photo from 1946. At right is a photo from 2002. 
Yes, they keep coming back and I'm just one of the thousands. 

By the way, in the 2002 photo, I had not been asked to fill in for the minister or 
lead the singing. I was dressed for a funeral later that afternoon. 



761